Healthcare Fraud and COVID-19

The Department of Justice announced on (April 20, 2023) that it was making a concerted effort to focus on healthcare fraud offenses related to COVID-19. As a result, the DOJ stated that criminal charges had been brought against 18 defendants throughout various districts in the United States, including the Eastern District of New York. The charges stemmed from allegations of their participation in various fraud schemes involving false billings to federal programs for healthcare services. The false billings amounted to more than $490 million.

In addition to the charges that were brought, the Government seized over $16 million in cash and other proceeds alleged to be tied to fraud. Attorney General Garland stated that the DOJ would continue to use all resources to bring charges against those involved in COVID-19 related healthcare fraud. Many of the defendants charged here were alleged to have defrauded the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) COVID-19 Uninsured Program. This program provided uninsured individuals with testing, treatment, and reimbursement to healthcare providers who rendered those services. The defendants included two doctors, a lab owner, manufacturers, and various other healthcare providers. In the Eastern District of New York, three medical professionals who operated a midwife practice were charged with allegedly distributing thousands of forged COVID-19 vaccination cards to unvaccinated individuals.

One of the defendants charged in this group is a doctor who is alleged to have also received about $3 million through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program by submitting 70 fraudulent loans.

Charges were also brought under the Health Care Fraud Unit’s Provider Relief Fund (PRF) Initiative. The PRF is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a federal law enacted in March 2020 that provided financial assistance to medical providers delivering needed medical care to Americans suffering from COVID-19. In the Eastern District of Louisiana, the operator of a primary care clinic and purported spa was charged with allegedly submitting fraudulent loan agreements, attestations, and other documentation from which she received over $1.1 million in PRF and EIDL funds. The funds were used to purchase real estate, luxury vehicles, a boat, a trailer, a timeshare, luxury vacations, and other expenditures. In total, 12 defendants have been charged with crimes related to misappropriating funds intended for frontline medical providers, and seven have pleaded guilty.

At LGR Law, we are experienced federal criminal defense lawyers in New Jersey and New York. Lorraine Gauli-Rufo and her staff have nearly 35 years of federal and state criminal law experience. We have represented and successfully defended many doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals when charged with federal crimes. Contact LGR Law at 973-239-4300 or visit our website at for a free consultation today. We fight for your rights and protect your freedom when you are charged or threatened with federal or state crimes.

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