Friday, September 23, 2022

Feds Charge 47 for Allegedly Stealing $250 Million in COVID Fraud Scheme; Former Va. State Employee Sentenced for Stealing $1.8 Million in COVID Relief, and other C-Virus related stories

Feds charge 47 for allegedly stealing $250 million in COVID fraud scheme:
Nearly 50 people were charged on Tuesday with carrying out a sweeping COVID-19 fraud scheme in which they allegedly stole close to $250 million from a federal program meant to feed hungry children in Minneapolis.
At a press conference, Attorney General Merrick Garland called it “the largest pandemic relief fraud scheme charged to date.”
Federal prosecutors said the 47 defendants pulled off the massive scam by taking advantage of loosened rules and oversight during the pandemic. They allegedly blew the cash meant for underserved kids on fancy cars and luxury real estate.
“This was a brazen scheme of staggering proportions,” said Andrew Luger, US Attorney for the District of Minnesota.
Prosecutors allege that Minnesota-based charity Feeding Our Future took advantage of a COVID rule-changes that allowed for student meal-assistance programs to operate off school grounds, as well as for the involvement of for-profit restaurants.
The indictments accuse Aimee Bock, the charity’s founder and director, of recruiting a network of people and organizations to operate as many as 250 fraudulent meal assistance sites — and cash in on federal funding meant to feed children during the pandemic. --->READ MORE HERE
Former Va. state employee sentenced for stealing $1.8 million in COVID relief:
A former Virginia state employee has been sentenced to nearly six years in prison in connection with a scam that involved ripping off financial programs that were created to help people during the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Sadie Mitchell, 30, of Midlothian, was given the sentence last week after accepting a plea deal, agreeing to plead guilty to charges of mail and wire fraud.
In all, federal prosecutors said that Mitchell stole $1.8 million in COVID relief money in 2020 and 2021.
“This exploitation of government programs meant to assist our most vulnerable community members is appalling and inexcusable,” said Jessica Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
According to federal prosecutors, Mitchell submitted dozens of fraudulent unemployment claims in an effort to steal from the pandemic unemployment assistance program, which was meant to help those not covered by traditional unemployment benefits, including self-employed people.
Mitchell used her job at the Virginia Motor Vehicle Dealer Board to access a government database with personal information, including dates of birth and Social Security numbers. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to relevant/related stories and resources:

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USA TODAY: Coronavirus Updates

WSJ: Coronavirus Live Updates

YAHOO NEWS: Coronavirus Live Updates

NEW YORK POST: Coronavirus The Latest

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