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Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Delivers Remarks at COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force Roundtable


Washington, DC
United States

Hello everyone, I see a bunch of familiar faces, that’s very nice.  

I will be brief so we can get to work. I want to thank you all for your partnership and recognize the extraordinary work you’ve been doing – apparently, no one can hear me. [Laughter]

I will repeat that: I’m grateful for your work, for your partnership, everything you’ve been doing to combat pandemic-related fraud.

When I established this inter-agency task force last May, I said it would help us to deter, detect, and disrupt pandemic fraud wherever it occurs.

Over the past 10 months, that is exactly what this team, made up of close to 30 agencies has been doing. Led by the Deputy Attorney General, you have, among your many other accomplishments, lowered the barriers to information sharing related to COVID fraud and increased the flow of data between our agencies. This has resulted in investigative leads that have led to increased prosecutions.

You have developed a system that makes it easier for financial institutions to report pandemic relief funds they have frozen so that they can be seized.

And you have developed new analytical tools that will reduce the time it takes to convert data to investigations, and investigations to prosecutions.

Since the start of this pandemic, the Justice Department has seized over $1.2 billion in relief funds that criminals were attempting to steal, and charged over 1,000 defendants with crimes in federal districts across the country.

But, we know our work is not done.  As President Biden noted in his State of the Union Address, the Department is naming a Director of COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement. Our new Director is already a valued leader in the Department and an experienced former AUSA, and we are very grateful for his continued service.

I’m going to keep his name secret, so that the Deputy Attorney General can announce it. [Laughter]

The Department remains committed to using every available federal tool — including criminal, civil, and administrative actions — to combat and prevent COVID-19 related fraud. We will continue to hold accountable those who seek to exploit the pandemic for personal gain, to protect vulnerable populations, and to safeguard the integrity of taxpayer-funded programs.

And with that, I am happy to turn the keys over to the Deputy Attorney General, who will introduce our new Director.

Disaster Fraud
Updated March 10, 2022