IRS Announces Almost $9 Billion in COVID Fraud Investigated – Fraud Friday

March 29, 2024

Delaney Sexton
Contributing Editor

IRS Announces Almost $9 Billion in COVID Fraud Investigated – Fraud Friday

“In the last year alone, we have opened nearly 700 new COVID fraud investigations that collectively add up to $5 billion in potential fraud,” says Criminal Investigation (CI) Chief Guy Ficco. “While COVID may no longer be top of mind to the average American when they wake up, the fraud committed through these different programs is very much top of mind to CI. Our special agents continue to seek out fraudsters who stole money from government loan programs for their personal gain.”

The IRS released updated COVID fraud statistics four years after the CARES Act was enacted. Criminal Investigation looked into 1,644 tax and money laundering cases related to COVID fraud, and these investigations potentially totaled $8.9 billion. Half of that amount came from cases opened in just the last year.

As of February 29, there were 795 individuals indicted for their alleged role in COVID-related crimes, and 373 individuals have been sentenced. The average sentence is 34 months in federal prison. The IRS states that CI has managed a 98.5% conviction rate in prosecuted COVID fraud cases.

“The work by IRS Criminal Investigation provides a vital role in protecting against fraud and serves a key part in the agency’s wider efforts to ensure fairness in the nation’s tax system,” says IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. “Protecting taxpayers against fraud in pandemic-era programs is just one example of the important role that CI plays in the law enforcement community. A healthy budget for the IRS helps us get the job done, and the work of CI provides a critical safety net to protect the nation against fraud.”

IRS Press Release