It did not take long. On April 3, 2020, the Small Business Administration began accepting applications for companies to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”). By early May, the first criminal charges began to roll in. The most attention-getting of these was filed against Maurice Fayne, better known as “Arkansas Mo” from the VH1 reality television show “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta.”
To read the full post by Duane Morris attorney Brett Feldman, please visit the Duane Morris White-Collar Criminal Law Blog.
Recently, because of some desperation to sell low-quality goods, there has also been a dramatic increase in the misuse of leading brand names to sell infringing and/or counterfeit goods. The brand names are often used as part of a longer semi-descriptive name of a product on an online retailer site. Use of your mark, sprinkled on webpages, helps internet search engines find this abuser’s page, and these uses are most often illegal.
To read the full text of this post, the second of a multipart series, by Duane Morris patent agent Nicole Candelori and partner Alain Villeneuve, please visit the Duane Morris Fashion, Retail and Consumer Branded Products Blog.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented disruptions and triggered an equally unprecedented flood of government relief for businesses—many of which have limited experience with compliance, regulators or law enforcement. When this disruption passes, we anticipate a surge in allegations of fraud and misuse of government funds, including those made by former employees with financial incentives to make them. It is critical that businesses retain and consult with counsel quickly in order to protect themselves when confronted with a federal investigation.
To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, which identifies critical points for consideration in three situations, please visit the firm website.
By Jovalin Dedaj
Yesterday, federal prosecutors in the District of New Jersey charged a Georgia man for his alleged role in a conspiracy to defraud federally funded and private health care benefit programs by submitting fraudulent testing claims for COVID-19 and genetic cancer screenings. It follows a criminal complaint announced last week by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California against a Southern California man on a federal fraud charge alleging he solicited investments in a company he claimed would be used to market pills that would prevent coronavirus infections and an injectable cure for those already suffering from COVID-19. These cases are among the first criminal actions in the ongoing public health crisis and come on the heels of the first civil enforcement action by the Department of Justice against a COVID-19 related fraud.
Continue reading Federal Prosecutors Begin Charging COVID-19 Fraud in California and New Jersey
By Brett M. Feldman and Jessica Linse
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, law enforcement officials throughout the country have publicly committed to aggressively combatting pandemic-related fraud. Those pronouncements have translated into action focused, at least at this early stage, upon frauds which might impact consumers’ health and safety. The first federal civil enforcement action took place on Saturday, March 21, 2020. On that date, the U.S. Department of Justice, in coordination with the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, filed the first civil enforcement action against a COVID-19 related fraud. Prosecutors sought an injunction shutting down a website, which purportedly offered to provide “free” coronavirus “vaccine kits” for a $4.95 shipping and handling fee. This request for injunctive relief, which resulted in a temporary restraining order pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1345, is likely an omen of more to come. Continue reading U.S. Department of Justice Files Civil Complaint for COVID-19-Related Fraud