OAN’s Abril Elfi
3:10 PM – Wednesday, August 23, 2023
The United States Department Of Justice (DOJ) has announced charges against hundreds of people in regards to the theft of millions of dollars in COVID-19 emergency aid.
Following a worldwide operation performed by federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities, the DOJ announced on Wednesday that 317 people have been charged with stealing more than $830 million in COVID-19 emergency relief funds.
According to the agency, more than 60 of the suspects have alleged ties to organized crime, including members of a criminal organization accused of using stolen epidemic aid to pay for a murder.
Court records indicated that the alleged members of a Milwaukee gang known as the Wild 100s were involved in the murder-for-hire case referenced. Federal prosecutors claim they stole millions of dollars in epidemic unemployment benefits and used some of it to buy guns, narcotics, and payed to have someone killed.
Attorney General Merrick Garland talked in a statement released by the DOJ.
“This latest action, involving over 300 defendants and over $830 million in alleged COVID-19 fraud, should send a clear message: the COVID-19 public health emergency may have ended, but the Justice Department’s work to identify and prosecute those who stole pandemic relief funds is far from over,” Garland said.
The majority of the funds came from three significant pandemic-relief efforts intended to assist small businesses and unemployed individuals in surviving the economic turmoil caused by the outbreak.
According to new Justice Department numbers, nearly 3,200 people have been charged with COVID-19 aid fraud.
Reportedly a total of $1.4 billion in stolen pandemic aid has been recovered.
The Justice Department also announced the formation of additional strike groups to target COVID-19 fraud in Colorado and New Jersey, in addition to those already going on in Eastern and Central California, Maryland and Southern Florida.
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