Skip to main content
Press Release

Physician Sentenced for Stealing Approximately $250K from COVID-19 Relief Programs

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A Colorado physician was sentenced today to two and a half years in prison for fraudulently obtaining and misappropriating approximately $250,000 from two separate COVID-19 relief programs.

According to court documents, Dr. Francis F. Joseph, 58, of Highlands Ranch, was the supervisory physician at Springs Medical Associates, a medical clinic with three offices in Colorado. From March through June 2020, Joseph applied for and received government funds for COVID-19 relief from the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program and the Paycheck Protection Program. Both programs were designed to provide emergency financial assistance to medical providers and small businesses who were suffering economic effects from the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, Joseph received approximately $250,000 from these programs and used the money to pay for his personal expenses.    

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Special Agent in Charge Curt Muller of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Kansas City Region; and Special Agent in Charge Weston King of the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General (SBA-OIG), Western Region made the announcement.

The HHS-OIG and SBA-OIG investigated the case.

Trial Attorneys Jennifer Bilinkas and John J. Liolos of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section prosecuted the case.

The Fraud Section leads the Criminal Division’s efforts to combat fraud related to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly with respect to the resources made available by Congress through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for programs including the Paycheck Protection Program, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, and the Provider Relief Fund. Since the CARES Act passed, Fraud Section attorneys have prosecuted more than 210 defendants in more than 140 criminal cases related to CARES Act programs and funds. The Fraud Section has also seized more than $80 million in cash proceeds derived from CARES Act-related fraud schemes, as well as numerous real estate properties and luxury items purchased with such proceeds. More information can be found at

In May 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the department’s response to the pandemic, please visit

Updated June 1, 2023

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 23-622