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by Andrea L. Moseley DoJ issued a press release, on March 26, 2021, announcing that it had criminally charged 474 individuals for alleged fraudulent efforts to obtain $569 million in pandemic relief funds. “The impact of the department’s work to date sends a clear and unmistakable message to those who would exploit a national emergency to steal taxpayer-funded resources from vulnerable individuals and small businesses,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement…
By Sara Kropf On March 31, 2021, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York asked the court to dismiss the indictment of two defendants in a complex accounting fraud case. The letter request said “we do not believe we can establish beyond a reasonable doubt” an element of the offense, namely the materiality of the supposed misstatements. The next day, the court dismissed the charges. Good news for the defendants, right?…
By Sara Kropf Hindsight is 20/20. In retrospect, we can often see what our OIG investigation clients could have done to prevent the investigation. The three ideas below won’t prevent every investigation, but they can help mitigate the most serious consequences to your career or to your company. It’s worth pointing out that each of these tips could backfire pretty spectacularly if you are planning to do something that is outright illegal. Each requires advance…
by Andrea L. Moseley As National Public Radio co-host and producer Jesse Thorn put it recently, we are a year into this novel coronavirus and the novelty has worn off. We have passed the one year mark for when most Americans realized that COVID-19 was about to turn our personal and work lives upside down. The chaos of this new reality resulted in a host of pandemic related reverberations inside government agencies including DoJ. I…
By Sara Kropf A year ago, I wrote a post lamenting the fact that prosecutors get every benefit of the doubt when it comes to whether they committed intentional Brady violations. My point was that judges routinely credit weak evidence of a defendant’s state of mind in a criminal case, but they reject strong evidence of a prosecutor’s state of mind in a Brady matter. A recent SDNY case shows that this pattern is alive…
By Andrea L. Moseley As I have explained in previous blogs, there is a complex oversight structure created by the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) to address fraud related to pandemic relief funds. Multiple offices within the executive branch are tasked with investigating and potentially prosecuting these cases. These familiar Offices of Inspector General (OIG) such as, the Small Business Administration, the Treasury Department and the Department of Justice (DoJ)…
By Sara Kropf As the historic second impeachment trial of Donald Trump continues, there has been a lot of chatter about what defenses his lawyers would offer. His first set of lawyers withdrew from the case a few days before the Senate trial began. They withdrew amid rumors that Mr. Trump “wanted them to make the case during the trial that he actually won the election. To do so would require citing his false claims…
By: Andrea L. Moseley As you might see from the above, not-so-subtle, “light at the end of the tunnel” graphic metaphor, my answer to the headline question is a buoyant “yes.” I continue to track the evolution of the Department of Justice’s (DoJ’s) pursuit of businesses that have allegedly engaged in fraudulent conduct relating to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). On the ever-winding PPP road, there are some hot-off-the-fire developments to fold into my ongoing…
By Sara Kropf If I had a dollar for every time a government employee told me, “this OIG investigation is political!”—well, I’d be retired by now. I get it. The Inspector General for many agencies is appointed by the President. There’s a natural instinct to view that person as sharing the politics of the person in the Oval Office. If you have conservative political views and the IG was appointed by a Democratic president, then…
By Sara Kropf As Andrea mentioned in her last post, the Small Business Administration’s Office of Inspector General (SBA-OIG) has seen a massive increase in fraud complaints to its hotline. These are related to the CARES Act or Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). When an OIG receives a credible allegation of fraud, it will open an investigation. So, we can expect an increase of investigations by the SBA OIG following these hotline reports. We’ve already…