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Criminal Charges Filed in Covid-19 Fraud Schemes

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Brad Fulton

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, more criminal charges have been filed in schemes related to COVID-19 fraud. Read the full story and more news below:

Top Story

Criminal Charges Filed in USD 150M COVID-19 Fraud Schemes

Federal prosecutors have charged about 20 individuals with engaging in fraud schemes related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including government aid and PPP loan fraud. The fraud schemes involved the theft of about USD 150M, mostly procured by individuals filing fraudulent government claims. The Justice Department recently increased its efforts to track down theft from programs that were meant to help those individuals and businesses who experienced financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The cases also include healthcare providers who billed for unnecessary services in an effort to cheat the U.S. Medicare system.

Government

World’s Largest Hacker Marketplace Shuttered

In a press release this week, Europol said that the world’s largest hacker marketplace, which served as a distribution channel for tips, hacks, and stolen data for hackers around the world has been shut down. The multi-agency effort involved agencies from U.S, the U.K, Sweden, Portugal, Germany and Romania. RaidForums, which launched in 2015, allowed access to message boards and chatrooms where individuals could share stolen data, included records of more than 10 billion unique users.

Business

Stericycle to Pay USD 90M in US, Brazil Bribery Probe

US-based medical-waste management company Stericycle Inc. will pay about USD 90M to settle allegations of violating antibribery laws in the U.S. and Brazil. A Justice Department probe found that the company had paid bribes totaling USD 10.5M to foreign officials to win business in Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina. According to the Justice Department, the company made at least USD 21.5M in profit in the bribery scheme. The Foregin Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) prohibits companies with ties to the U.S. from paying bribes to win new business or gain business advantages.

Supply Chain Shortages Lead to Corruption Risks, Experts Say

Partly due to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russia, as well as holdover supply chain issues due to COVID-19, experts are saying that such supply shortages can lead to an increase in overall corruption risks. Because important commodities such as oil, wheat, and iron are facing supply shortages, some third-parties can be tempted to pay bribes in an effort to secure their portion of a limited supply. Corruption via third-party suppliers is at most risk because they cannot be overseen as easily as a company’s internal operations.