“We will prosecute the criminals who have stolen billions in relief money meant for small businesses and millions of Americans,” Biden said during his March 1 speech. “I am announcing that the Department of Justice will appoint a Chief Pandemic Fraud Prosecutor.”
Biden praised the department for moving “quickly” to fill the position and said he was modeling the approach after his work as vice president, when then-President Barack Obama asked him to oversee the Recovery Act in 2009.
“With a chief pandemic prosecutor now in place, the Justice Department will step up its efforts to crack down on bad actors – and do everything possible to seize relief money stolen from American families, businesses and schools in course of the last administration and give it back to the American people,” Biden said in a statement Thursday.
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the multi-agency task force last May. The task force has already moved forward in several cases and investigations, examining fraud with the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Disaster Loan Program, Unemployment Insurance Programs and other related frauds. to Covid healthcare, the press release said.
For example, through the department’s work on the PPP and EIDL fraud cases, 500 defendants have been charged in more than 340 cases, the statement said. These cases amounted to more than $700 million in alleged intentional losses.
The chief prosecutor’s role will expand the task force’s efforts, the announcement said, particularly through the strike teams that Chambers will coordinate.
“We receive an extraordinary amount of data from our state workforce agency partners,” Chambers said in a statement. “This data holds the key to identifying and prosecuting certain types of fraud, including unemployment insurance fraud. Our strike teams will augment existing departmental efforts and include analysts and data scientists to review data, officers to investigate cases, and prosecutors and prosecutors to bring charges and adjudicate cases. Again, this is in addition to the great work that our people on the ground are already doing.