With the  enactment of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March 2020, the economic collapse threatened by the coronavirus has been met with unprecedented levels of government fiscal intervention to restore and stabilize our nation’s ailing economy. Given its over two trillion-dollar price tag, federal outlays under the CARES Act call for close oversight to ensure that public funds are used for their intended purpose and are not diverted by unscrupulous companies or individuals. 

The CARES Act provides for several types of emergency pandemic relief, including:

  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP),
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA),
  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), and
  • Economic Impact Payments (EIP).

Many of these relief programs offer “forgivable” loans, making them ripe for fraud.

Such fraud can include:

  • Bribery or Kickbacks
    • CARES Act Loans
    • COVID-19 Response-related Contracts
  • Falsifying CARES Act Loan Applications
  • Receiving and Not Reporting Mis-Directed CARES Act Loans
  • Sub-Standard/ Defective Equipment or Services
  • “Up-Charging” COVID-19 Response-related
    • Products, equipment
    • Services and Material Programs

As of January 2021, more than $500 billion of the $2 trillion dollars authorized under the CARES Act has been allocated for PPP loans, which focus on keeping smaller businesses and their employees afloat during the pandemic.

The CARES Act also established institutional oversight mechanisms and government agencies working with the U.S. Department of Justice to protect the integrity of these important pandemic recovery programs from individuals or companies who have fraudulently applied for such loans or who have fraudulently mis-used such loans. 

During the Covid crisis and the economic fallout therefrom, many Americans have wondered what they can do to assist with our nation’s response. As lawyers who regularly represent whistleblowers who have identified fraud and chosen to report it, we know that each American can play an important part. For those who witness fraud on the government, the answer is clear: safeguard public spending and help government programs reach those in need by calling out fraud when you see it.  With decades of experience representing whistleblowers, we are here to assist.  

Please review our “COVID-19 and Whistleblower Actions: Frequently Asked Questions” or contact us directly at whistleblower@cohenmilstein.com