Welcome to This Week In Compliance: GAN’s weekly news roundup, where we curate the latest stories on compliance and anti-corruption to keep you informed. This week, healthcare workers face COVID-19 fraud charges to the tune of USD 1.5B. Read the full story and more news below:
138 U.S. Healthcare Workers Charged With Nearly USD 1.5B in Fraud
The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced criminal charges against 138 healthcare workers, including doctors and nurses, for fraud amounting to nearly USD 1.5B. The schemes related to telemedicine claims, COVID-19 fraud, fraudulent opioid distribution and more. The DOJ claims that telemedicine executives were paying off doctors and nurses for unnecessary medical equipment and pain medications after meeting with patients briefly, either virtually or not at all. The companies would then submit false insurance claims to government insurance organizations.
More than 100 Arrested in Spain and Italy Money Laundering Sting
A money-laundering sting operation in Spain and Italy has led to the arrest of more than 100 people, authorities say. The sting targeted an Italian mafia accused of laundering more than EUR 10M, most of which was made through a variety of online scams. The Europol sting operation led to the arrest of more than 100 people.
Former Venezuelan Official Arrested Over Narco-Terrorism Charges
Hugo Armando Carvajal Barrios, a former Venezuelan official and head of military intelligence for the late president Hugo Chavez, was arrested in Spain last week on charges of narco-terrorism conspiracy. Barrios, known as “El Pollo” by his associates, was extradited to the U.S. on charges of conspiring to traffic more than 5.6 tons of cocaine into the U.S. As an acting former intelligence chief in Venezuela, Barrios is accused of aiding the trafficking of narcotics by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
U.K. Fraud Losses Grow by 30% in 2021
UK Finance released its annual fraud report which showed that fraud-related losses grew by 30% in the first half of 2021. More than GBP 750M were stolen in fraudulent schemes, a 30% increase over the same period in 2020. The report cites the changing nature of fraud, including an increase in online, telecommunication, and SMS schemes.
Zoom Probed Over USD 15B China Deal
The United States DOJ is investigating a USD 15B acquisition deal of a U.S.-based software company by Zoom Video Communications, Inc. The probe cites Zoom’s ties to China as a potential national-security risk. Zoom is in talks to purchase Five9, a customer-service software company. An internal DOJ team, dubbed Team Telecom, is reviewing the M&A application to ensure that the deal does not “pose a risk to the national security or law enforcement interests” of the U.S.
EU Cracks Down on Corporate Tax Avoidance
The European Union is proposing to deny corporate tax breaks to companies found to be linked to shell entities and other tax avoidance loopholes. Officials said Wednesday that the EU loses out on up to EUR 70B each year due to companies using shell entities to avoid paying taxes on income. Corporations will establish “shell entities” in countries where they do little to no business, solely to bypass EU tax obligations.