Since the inception of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (referred to as the CARES Act), the United States Criminal Division’s Fraud Section has prosecuted over 150 defendants, seizing over $75 million in deceptively obtained Paycheck Protection Program (known as PPP) funds, as well as numerous properties and luxury items purchased with such proceeds. In 2021, the Attorney General established a COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to enhance efforts to combat and prevent such pandemic-relief fraud.
The Federal False Claims Act has become the primary mechanism for combatting fraud against the government. Under the Act, whistleblowers can report schemes by filing a qui tam lawsuit. In return for providing incriminating information, and in some cases litigating the case on behalf of the government, the first individual to report the misconduct is typically entitled to a percentage of any amount recovered (15% to 30%). Considering that trillions of dollars in relief were disbursed, this amount could be significant.
If you or a loved one has knowledge regarding COVID-19 relief fraud, such as PPP fraud, we invite you to call our office to schedule a free consultation with Washington False Claims Act lawyer Stephen Teller. He can explain your legal options for reporting fraud and the legal protections available for whistleblowing.
Seattle Doctor Found Guilty of Fraudulently Obtaining Millions of Dollars in COVID Relief Funds – What Penalties Does He Face?
A federal jury recently convicted a Seattle doctor of fraudulently seeking over $3.5 million in PPP and other COVID-19 disaster relief funds. According to court documents, the physician, Eric Shibley, submitted fraudulent loan applications to financial institutions and the Small Business Administration (SBA) in the names of non-operational businesses or by otherwise misrepresenting the business’s eligibility. For example, Shibley was alleged to have created fake employment records and tax documents in the names of individuals who did not work for his businesses, allowing him to receive over $2.8 million in funds. Shibley was convicted of multiple counts of wire fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering, charges that can carry ten to thirty years per count. He is set to be sentenced at the beginning of 2022.
How Much Money Can I Collect for Reporting COVID Relief Fraud Against the Government?
In a fraud case against the federal government, the first whistleblower to bring a False Claims Act case may be eligible for a reward of between 15 and 30 percent of all recovered compensation. Given the substantial penalties for COVID-19 fraud, the recovery can be millions of dollars.
You Only Have A Limited Amount of Time to File a COVID-19 Fraud Claim – Call Today to Schedule A Consultation.
COVID-19 fraud matters are subject to strict timeframes. Specifically, a whistleblower must bring their case either three years after the government should have known or had knowledge of such fraud, or six years after the date of the claimed violation. Further, only the first person to report valid fraud will be entitled to the reward; thus, it is critical to seek an attorney immediately to avoid missing out on potentially significant compensation.
Call Our Firm for a Free Consultation
If you have information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 relief or PPP funds, we invite you to call our office to schedule a free consultation to learn about your legal options for reporting the misconduct. Firm-founding attorney Stephen Teller can listen to the facts of your case, answer any questions, and explain your legal options for reporting fraud. Call our office today to get started!
 Seattle Doctor Found Guilty of Fraudulently Obtaining Millions of Dollars from COVID-19 Relief Programs, The United States Department of Justice, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/seattle-doctor-found-guilty-fraudulently-obtaining-millions-dollars-covid-19-relief-programs?link_id=5&can_id=1f3eb0f49bdbd17faeb36ecd0e5b842a&source=email-sec-whistleblower-program-issues-its-annual-report&email_referrer=email_1373226___from_1807499&email_subject=pfizer-lobbying-to-thwart-fca-amendments.
 Seattle Doctor Found Guilty of Fraudulently Obtaining Millions of Dollars from COVID-19 Relief Programs, The United States Department of Justice, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/seattle-doctor-found-guilty-fraudulently-obtaining-millions-dollars-covid-19-relief-programs?link_id=5&can_id=1f3eb0f49bdbd17faeb36ecd0e5b842a&source=email-sec-whistleblower-program-issues-its-annual-report&email_referrer=email_1373226___from_1807499&email_subject=pfizer-lobbying-to-thwart-fca-amendments