As Covid fraud exceeds $8 million in US, justice department names chief prosecutor to investigate

WION Web Team
Washington, United States Updated: Mar 11, 2022, 11:34 AM(IST)

Justice Department Photograph:( AFP )

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More than 1,000 defendants have been charged with crimes over alleged losses exceeding $1.1 billion, according to the justice department

On Thursday, the US Department of Justice announced the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the COVID-19 pandemic fraud, which is estimated to have cost the government more than $8 billion.

President Joe Biden has welcomed the appointment of a chief pandemic prosecutor and promised to "escalate our efforts to crack down on bad actors."

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Justice Department officials said they have already initiated criminal and civil enforcement actions involving more than $8 billion in alleged pandemic relief fraud in a statement announcing the new position.

More than 1,000 defendants have been charged with crimes over alleged losses exceeding $1.1 billion, according to the Justice Department.

Additionally, more than 240 civil investigations have been opened into more than 1,800 individuals and entities for alleged misconduct with pandemic relief loans, totalling over $6 billion.

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More than $1 billion in illegally obtained Economic Injury Disaster Loans have also been seized, according to the federal law enforcement agency.

Kevin Chambers will fill the new position as associate deputy attorney general.

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"The Justice Department remains committed to using every available federal tool -- including criminal, civil, and administrative actions -- to combat and prevent Covid-19 related fraud," Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

For Americans affected by the pandemic's economic effects, the US Congress has allotted trillions of dollars in emergency financial assistance.

(With inputs from agencies)

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