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Recent DOJ Comments Shed Light on Expected Civil Enforcement of COVID-19 Cases

August 18, 2020 | Blog | By Nicole Henry, Karen Lovitch

Comments made by Department of Justice attorneys during a recent webinar provided insight into the government’s civil enforcement priorities related to the coronavirus pandemic. In particular, government attorneys expect that civil enforcement related to COVID-19 relief funds will focus on certifications made by applicants seeking loan forgiveness and anticipate increased investigations into telemedicine services.
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United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling recently announced that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Special Inspector General Brian D. Miller of the Office of the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery to investigate and prosecute fraud in the distribution of the funds authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security.
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COVID-19 Relief Programs: Recent Criminal Enforcement and Anticipated Trends

July 9, 2020 | Blog | By Eoin Beirne, Nicole Henry

Leading up to a webinar on July 15, 2020, we are publishing a blog series covering the risks of enforcement against companies that received COVID-19 relief funds under the CARES Act and strategies for mitigating those risks.  This third, and final, installment of our series discusses emerging and anticipated criminal enforcement involving COVID-19 relief programs.
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COVID-19 Relief Programs: The Anticipated Wave of False Claims Act Cases and Oversight Agency Enforcement Activities

July 2, 2020 | Blog | By Brian Dunphy, Geoffrey Friedman, Caitie Hill, Jane Haviland, Karen Lovitch

Leading up to a webinar on July 15, 2020, we are publishing a blog series covering the risks of enforcement against companies that received COVID-19 relief funds under the CARES Act and strategies for mitigating these risks.  This second installment of our series discusses our predictions related to litigation and enforcement activities. We expect a substantial number of False Claims Act (“FCA”) investigations and lawsuits initiated mainly by whistleblowers (also known as “relators”). The FCA remains the government’s primary enforcement tool for pursuing alleged fraud by recipients of government funds, and FCA claims present substantial risk because the statute permits treble damages and significant per-claim penalties. For example, an erroneous $100,000 loan under the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) can result in $300,000 in FCA damages, or more.
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COVID-19 Relief Programs: Mitigating and Responding To Enforcement Risk

June 22, 2020 | Blog | By Brian Dunphy, Jane Haviland, Nicole Henry, Karen Lovitch

Since the early days of the pandemic, Mintz’s COVID-19 Compliance & Enforcement Defense Task Force has closely monitored and advised clients on the evolving COVID-19 relief programs, including those created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The CARES Act provided for over $2 trillion in relief funds, which is the largest emergency assistance package in American history. The numerous CARES Act programs have continued to develop through, among other things, the passage of the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, and rapidly changing regulatory guidance and FAQs. As one example, the government recently wrestled with whether to make public the list of about 4.6 million entities that received more than $500 billion from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) under the CARES Act. After initially refusing to disclose PPP loan recipients, the Small Business Administration and Treasury Department decided to make public the names of entities that received loans larger than $150,000, as well as the dollar range of each loan.
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