The pandemic has had a monumental impact on every aspect of our national economy. One of the primary ways our government officials responded was through several loans to help small businesses weather the storm and continue paying their employees.
As expected, the government has dedicated significant resources to policing the misuse and abuse of these financial programs. Most cases of COVID-related fraud are uncovered and prosecuted through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the tax system.
A recent case
At the end of last month, federal prosecutors obtained a major conviction for COVID-related tax fraud.
According to the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, a husband and wife team pled guilty of fraud. Apparently, these defendants obtained nearly $2 million in fraudulent loans from:
- The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
- The Economic Impact Disaster Loan (EIDL) program
- The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act
According to the report, the couple created false businesses and falsified financial statements for their own businesses, while also falsifying numerous tax reports for their clients’ businesses to obtain millions in government funds fraudulently.
As can be expected, the government is cracking down aggressively on these types of instances of COVID fraud. The strong language used by those involved in the investigation, arrest and prosecution can give a good indication of the sentiments behind this crackdown.
According to U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine, “It is unconscionable that he and his wife stole from government programs designed to support small businesses and their employees struggling as result of COVD-19 pandemic.”
IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge James E. Dorsey had similar sentiments. ““The Collins family greedily lined their pockets with stolen government funds intended to provide relief to small businesses and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Clearly, the authorities involved see this type of crime as a major affront to justice, and they are working hard to prosecute these cases aggressively.
If you are facing criminal charges for COVID-related fraud, or if you have reason to believe you are being investigated for this type of crime, make sure you talk with an experienced tax lawyer. There are numerous ways to get charges reduced or dropped. Similarly, there are numerous defenses and ways to fight these charges in court.
If you are being targeted for COVID-fraud, you will have a fight on your hands, but with the right legal team behind you, it’s a fight you could win.