BLOG from our #ABKLaw Partner Michael Jaccarino, Esq.: Employers Could Face Audits and Criminal Liability After Receiving Federal Assistance During COVID
The CARES Act, passed during the recent COVID-19 health crisis, made available over $2 trillion in economic stimulus, aid loans and relief to individuals, state and local governments, and businesses and corporations. However, along with this money, comes a barrage of conditions, prerequisites, and requirements regarding what can be done with the money. As in most situations where such a tremendous amount of money is at stake, there is bound to be fraud, and the Government has already sent a strong message that they will rigorously enforce the requirements that come along with this stimulus money.
Importantly, because the CARES Act involves federal money, federal prosecutors will be investigating the misconduct, and thus, there will be a staggering amount of resources behind any such investigations. Likewise, should the prosecutors choose to charge a business, corporation or individual, they will have a broad array of statutes that they can use to punish the misconduct. They can choose to utilize the mail and wire-fraud statues, as well as the False Claim Act, statutes penalizing false statements, bank fraud and emergency benefit fraud, almost all of which contain drastic sentences and mandatory restitution.
So, if you are an employer or individual who finds yourself in the cross hairs of a federal investigation, competent legal representation is necessary from the very beginning. The CARES Act delivered much needed relief to American businesses. However, it did not come with a lack of controversy, and because the opportunities to take advantage have been plentiful, prosecutors will be aggressive in investigating and punishing anyone they feel has committed a crime or obtained ill-gotten aid. Even well-meaning and well-intentioned people can find themselves or their businesses under the microscope, which is why representation is needed from the very beginning to avoid criminal charges or massive fines and restitution.
Call our office to learn more, or if you have a particular legal matter that requires immediate attention: 212-486-0011 or email us at Info@AidalaLaw.com.
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