Part One of a Two-Part Series
When the U.S. government passed the stimulus plan to provide economic relief to its citizens in response to the COVID pandemic, it stimulated crimes and criminals by creating a playground where money grows on trees for white-collar criminals!! Similarly, the connection between the COVID pandemic and medical laboratory testing and health insurance reimbursements spawned get-rich-quick scams involving COVID testing and insurance billing fraud. These crimes and unemployment fraud have all evolved as a result of the existence of COVID-19.
COVID white-collar criminal behavior is so rampant that the U.S. Department of Justice (the federal prosecutor’s office) has already created investigative units and re-assigned prosecutors to file charges and prosecute individuals for these types of crimes. The people committing these crimes fall into two categories; those who are criminally minded and saw an “opportunity” to exploit the government’s generosity and get rich even though it meant breaking the law and those who genuinely needed the government’s help and had no idea that the way they went about getting the help broke the law.
Therefore, a cautionary tale and warning need to be heard loud and clear by those who are not criminally minded and had no intention to commit a COVID crime but unknowingly and unintentionally did commit a crime(s). Undoubtedly, the crimes were committed because the rules and regulations of the government’s quick-fix policies were poorly defined and unclear and there was nowhere to turn for proper advice and counsel. As a result, many individuals and businesses have been left vulnerable to the risk of white-collar prosecution. Fraudulent Application for Government Stimulus and Unemployment Funds The disinformation surrounding government stimulus and unemployment is the biggest contributing factor in fraudulent application cases we have seen. This is a direct result of unclear regulations. When rules and regulations are not clearly defined, applicants are likely to complete their applications incorrectly and face prosecution as a result.
Our clients have found it challenging to receive guidance due to a general lack of knowledge of the federal government’s relief policies.
For many, the simple task of filling out an application has presented obstacles that carry serious and life-altering consequences. With over 100 years of criminal defense experience, our attorneys have successfully defended clients accused of white-collar crimes. During these difficult times, we are here to help.
For business owners and executives, the repercussions of a conviction extend beyond the individual. Employees and shareholders can be exposed to risk as a result of government investigations or white-collar prosecution. It is crucial to evaluate your business’ strategic options and ensure that procedures are implemented to protect yourself and your business. Our team of attorneys has extensive knowledge and experience in white-collar investigations and prosecution. Our attorneys are equipped to defend you and your business.
If you believe you or your business is under investigation, or you have been charged with a white-collar crime related to COVID-19, contact us as soon as possible. We are available 24/7 for a free consultation and case evaluation.
Stay tuned next week for our take on COVID-19 health insurance billing and medical testing fraud!
Written by: Guy Fronstin, Tiffany Monroy