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DJO charges hundreds in $830m Covid fraud crackdown

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In a major nationwide operation, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has brought criminal charges against 371 individuals involved in a sweeping crackdown on Covid-19 fraud, targeting a staggering $830 million in stolen relief funds, according to an official DOJ statement.

The initiative has already proven successful, with the recovery of $231 million in illicitly obtained funds. Moreover, it has exposed the alarming connection between more than 60 defendants and violent crime as well as transnational criminal networks.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, during a roundtable meeting with law enforcement officials, revealed some shocking details. In one particularly alarming case, 30 members of a street gang in Wisconsin allegedly utilized funds obtained through an unemployment fraud scheme to solicit murder-for-hire, as well as to purchase firearms and drugs.

Another case on the international stage involved four individuals charged with pandemic relief fraud and money laundering with connections to Nigeria.

Applying for assistance

Many of the individuals targeted in this operation are accused of fraudulently applying for assistance through programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans. These programs were designed to support small businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic, as outlined in a DOJ press release.

This crackdown comes in response to concerns raised by a government watchdog, which estimated in June that fraudsters could have siphoned off more than $200 billion intended for struggling businesses. This amount accounts for 17% of the total $1.2 trillion disbursed for pandemic relief.

The nationwide operation spanned three months, from May to July, and involved three strike teams in California, Maryland, and South Florida. These teams collaborated with 50 U.S. attorneys and over a dozen law enforcement partners.

Additionally, the DOJ is further bolstering its efforts to recover stolen pandemic relief funds by establishing two new strike teams in Colorado and New Jersey. Deputy Attorney General Monaco emphasized that the DOJ is committed to seeking judicial orders that will compel convicted defendants to return every ill-gotten dollar, with a window of 20 years to achieve these recoveries.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland initiated a task force in May 2021 specifically to target those who had fraudulently obtained Covid-19 relief money. To date, the task force has successfully pressed criminal charges against over 3,000 individuals and seized more than $1.4 billion in stolen pandemic relief funds, according to the DOJ.

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Survival of the fittest: the future of hospitality demands adaptability

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Exploring the highs and lows of business with a hospitality veteran.

Wyld Money dives into the world of financial freedom. Whether you’re a seasoned investor or just getting started, join us for actionable tips and tricks to unlock your earning potential, and retire on your own terms.

In this episode, Mark is joined by Nick Russian, Managing Director of Russian Entertainment. #wyld money #trending

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Ultra-processed diets could be the hidden path to weight gain

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Understanding calories and their role in dieting on the human body.

Calories, units of energy from food, are vital for bodily functions, and calorie counting helps manage weight by tracking energy intake. However, recent insights reveal that not all calories are equal, and nutritional quality is crucial.

Processed foods, rich in added sugars, unhealthy fats, and sodium, lack essential nutrients, contributing to obesity and diseases.

Kate Save from BeFitFood joins to discuss.

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Online shopping and the pivotal issue of returns continues

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Big businesses are continuing to balance customer expectations and logistics.

While many love the convenience, there are still significant challenges with delivery and returns. From delayed packages to cumbersome return processes, its clear that there’s room for improvement.

Ticker’s Ahron Young & Mike Loder discuss.

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