U.S. Attorney Announces Partnership with Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas (NDTX) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Office of the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (SIGPR) to investigate and prosecute fraud in the distribution of the massive relief package authorized by the CARES Act, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.
“The CARES Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by the president to provide much needed relief to Americans suffering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox. “But it is an unfortunate reality that scammers, fraudsters, and criminal actors are working overtime to illegally exploit this pandemic for profit. The Department of Justice is committed to investigating and prosecuting these wrongdoers. We are eager to continue this fight against fraud by partnering with Special Inspector General Brian D. Miller and his team.”
In response to the widespread economic harm caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act, which included over $2 trillion in emergency financial assistance designed to provide immediate help for American businesses and individuals. The purpose and mission of the MOU is to develop a cooperative effort to investigate and prosecute wrongdoing involving the making, purchase, management, and sale of loans, loan guarantees, and other investments by the Secretary of the Treasury under Division A of the CARES Act, and the management by the Secretary of any program established under Division A of the CARES Act. This partnership will make efficient use of resources and help ensure coordination with regulators and law enforcement so that just results can be achieved, while at the same time taking care not to stymie legitimate businesses acting in good faith to access the important financial resources that Congress made available to the public.
“I look forward to working with U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox and her team in the Northern District of Texas to identify fraud, waste and abuse of the money provided under the CARES Act,” said Special Inspector General Brian D. Miller. “We will bring to justice to those who steal CARES Act money, and recover money for the taxpayers. Taxpayers should expect nothing less.”
Two NDTX Assistant U.S. Attorneys – Deputy Chief Ken Coffin from the Civil Division and Fabio Leonardi from the Criminal Division – will serve as liaisons to the NDTX-SIGPR partnership. These AUSAs will be direct points of contact for case-related inquiries from SIGPR.
Texas residents who believe they are victims of fraud or other criminal activity related to the pandemic should contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at (866) 720-5721. Members of the public can also contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).