Newark Doctor and West New York Man Charged with $3.four Million Well being Care and Wire Fraud Conspiracy, Cash Laundering, and Making False Statements | USAO-NJ

CAMDEN, NJ – A Newark physician and West New York man are scheduled to make their initial appearances today on charges of defrauding New Jersey state and local health benefits programs and other insurers out of more than $3.4 million by submitting fraudulent claims for medically unnecessary prescriptions, US Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Kaival Patel, 53, of West New York, New Jersey, and Saurabh Patel, MD, 51, a Woodbridge, New Jersey resident, are charged in a 12-count indictment with conspiracy to commit health care fraud, and wire fraud and four counts of health care fraud. Kaival Patel is also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, substantive counts of money laundering, and making false statements to federal agents. The defendants appeared today by videoconference before US Magistrate Judge Sharon A. King and were released on $250,000 each unsecured bond.

According to the indication:

Kaival Patel and his wife – referred to in the indictment as “Individual 1” – operated a company called ABC Healthy Living LLC (ABC) to market medical products and services, including compound prescription medications. Saurabh Patel is a medical doctor who owns and operates a clinic – referred to in the indictment as “Medical Practice 1” – in Newark. Saurabh Patel is related to Kaival Patel and Individual 1. Paul Camarda, a pharmaceutical sales representative who is listed as a conspirator, pleaded guilty before Judge Kugler in Camden federal court on July 6, 2021, to health care conspiracy and conspiring to commit money laundering and obstruct justice and is awaiting sentencing.

Compounded medications are specialty medications mixed by a pharmacist to meet the specific medical needs of an individual patient. Although compounded drugs are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they are properly prescribed when a physician determines that an FDA-approved medication does not meet the health needs of a particular patient, such as if a patient is allergic to a dye or other ingredient.

Kaival Patel, Saurabh Patel, Camarda, and others learned that certain state and local government employees had insurance that would reimburse up to thousands of dollars for a one-month supply of certain compounded medications. The defendants submitted fraudulent insurance claims for prescription compounded medications to a pharmacy benefits administrator, which provided management services for certain insurance plans that covered state and local government employees. The defendants steered individuals recruited to receive medications from the compounding pharmacies to Saurabh Patel’s medical practice, which enabled him to fraudulently receive insurance payments for those patient visits and procedures. The conduct caused the benefits administrator to pay out $3.4 million in fraudulent claims.

The health care fraud and wire fraud conspiracy count carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison; the health care fraud charges carry a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison; the false statement count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison – all of these counts are also punishable by a fine of $250,000, or twice the gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest. The money laundering charges carry a maximum term of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense or not more than twice the amount of the criminally derived property involved in the transactions.

US Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the IRS – Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Montanez in Newark; special agents of the FBI’s Atlantic City Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark; and the US Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, New York Region, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Mellone, with the investigation leading to the indictment.

The government is represented by Assistant US Attorneys Christina O. Hud and R. David Walk Jr. of the Criminal Division in Camden.

The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

9 indicted in Indianapolis drug dealing, cash laundering investigation

Posted: 09/21/2021 / 9:51 AM EDT
Updated: 9/21/2021 / 9:52 AM EDT

FILE – This Thursday, June 14, 2018, the file photo shows the FBI seal at a press conference held at FBI headquarters in Washington. In a warning on Wednesday, October 28, 2020, the FBI and other federal agencies warned that cyber criminals are unleashing a wave of blackmail attempts against the U.S. healthcare system that could lock down their information systems as well as nationwide cases of COVID-19. (AP Photo / Jose Luis Magana, File)

INDIANAPOLIS – A federal grand jury in Indianapolis has dismissed drug trafficking charges against nine people.

The FBI and IRS launched an investigation into drug trafficking and money laundering in late 2020. Investigators found that people from California and Mexico allegedly sent methamphetamine, cocaine and fentanyl to someone in the far east of Indianapolis.

The Indianapolis resident would then supposedly sell the drugs and send money back to California. Federal agencies claim more than $ 780,000 was exchanged during the investigation.

25 arrested in Johnson County nationwide drug sweep

As part of the investigation, search warrants were served and 15 small arms, three rifles, two shotguns, $ 42,000, 274 grams of cocaine and 150 pounds of marijuana were confiscated. In addition, the investigators secured four vehicles.

The following people will be charged as follows:

  • Martin Herrera-Diaz Jr., 29, Indianapolis: Laundering money, possession with intent to distribute controlled substances.
  • Sandra Herrera, 22, Indianapolis: Money Laundering
  • Jerzon Herrera, 28, Indianapolis: Money laundering, cocaine distribution
  • Antonio Partida-Chavez, 29, Mexico: Five cases of controlled substance distribution
  • Andy Partida-Chavez, 25, Indianapolis: Distribution of Controlled Substances
  • Brandon Vidal, 27, Indianapolis: Controlled Substance Distribution
  • Miriam Rodriguez Arguello, 32, Indianapolis: Distribution of Controlled Substances
  • Eric Martinez, 25, Indianapolis: Controlled Substance Distribution
  • Arnoldo Gonzalez Chavez, 23, Indianapolis: Controlled Substance Distribution

Those charged with money laundering face up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $ 250,000, and up to three years’ prudential release if convicted.

Suspects charged with distributing controlled substances face 10 years in prison, fined $ 10,000,000 and no less than five years’ supervised release if convicted.

Authorities say Jerzon Herrera faces an additional 20 years in prison, a $ 1,000,000 fine and no less than three years supervised release for distributing cocaine allegations. Martin Herrera-Diaz Jr. faces an additional 10 years of life imprisonment, a $ 10,000,000 fine, and no less than 5 years’ supervised release for possession with intent to circulate a controlled substance charge.

Conclude

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Wausau medical health insurance dealer sentenced to federal jail in drug, cash laundering scheme

From Shereen Siewert

A Wausauer health insurance broker who ran a program to import and distribute fake brand medicines from India will spend six months in jail after pleading guilty of postal fraud and money laundering, federal officials said Friday.

Kenneth Zipperer, 54, was also fined $ 150,000 and $ 483 in restitution costs.

In January 2019, At least five agents were seen pulling boxes from the Zipperer Financial, Wausau Forststr. 115 carried and placed in vehicles. The agents wore jackets that identified them as IRS-CID officers.

Zipperer Financial offered complementary Medicare plans, benefit plans, and Part D pharma plans.

Investigators refused to comment on the investigation for more than 18 months. But in November 2020, federal officials announced that Zipperer had been charged with 26 federal charges stemming from a plan with an unlicensed pharmacy. Zipper initially faced five postal fraud cases, ten wire transfer fraud cases, two cases of distributing bogus prescription drugs without a written prescription or license to administer such drugs, five cases of covert money laundering, and four cases of advertising money laundering.

According to the indictment, Zipperer imported overseas prescription drugs via the U.S. Mail and Express Mail Service from an Internet pharmacy company in India, and none of the drugs have been approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for human consumption in the U.S. Attorney’s Office Zipperer was not licensed to dispense or prescribe prescription drugs, and that he used his staff, computers, and office space to order prescription drugs from India, break down bulk shipments into quantities for individual customers, store drug inventory, and issue invoices for payment, and deposit drug customers’ checks into the company’s commercial bank account, officials said.

Zipperer urged his prescription drug customers to pay him cash to avoid leaving a paper trail of financial transactions related to the operations of his underground pharmacy and for him to conduct financial transactions knowing that it was revenue engaged in illegal activities, prosecutors said. Usually he personally distributed the drugs to insurance customers, mostly in his office in downtown Wausau.

On Friday, Zipperer was convicted of postal fraud and once money laundering, said Timothy M. O’Shea, acting US attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin. US District Judge William M. Conley directed the case.

O’Shea said distributing unapproved prescription drugs is not only illegal, but also endangers consumer health.

“To protect public health and safety, our office works closely with our law enforcement partners to identify and prosecute those who seek profit from the sale of unapproved prescription drugs,” said O’Shea.

Federal officials warn against taking foreign unapproved prescription drugs that can put patients at serious risk. Unapproved drugs have no guarantees of safety or effectiveness and can harm those who use them, said special envoy Lynda M. Burdelik, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Chicago Field Office.

“We will continue to investigate those who endanger public health,” said Burdelik.

The charges against Zipperer were the result of an investigation by the US Postal Inspection Service, the US Food & Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigations, the IRS Criminal Investigation, and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. Deputy US Attorney Daniel Graber took the indictment.

UAE’s anti-money laundering physique endorses framework for digital belongings

A general view of the Business Bay Area after a curfew was imposed to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, March 28, 2020. REUTERS / Satish Kumar / File Photo

DUBAI, Sept. 8 (Reuters) – A United Arab Emirates anti-money laundering committee has approved a regulatory framework for virtual assets, the Gulf State central bank said on Wednesday.

The National Committee on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Illegal Organizations has “announced the adoption of a regulatory framework for virtual assets in the UAE that is in line with approved anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing standards,” according to the central bank – that is one of the committee members – said in a statement.

The central bank and the Securities and Commodities Authority have been tasked with overseeing the implementation of the rules, the statement said.

“This regulatory framework is a first step towards comprehensive regulation of virtual assets and protects the financial system and investors from money laundering and terrorist financing risks,” it said.

In 2019, the Financial Action Task Force, the financial crime regulator, announced that cryptocurrency companies would be subject to rules to prevent misuse of digital coins such as bitcoin for money laundering. It was the first global regulatory attempt to contain the rapidly growing sector.

Reporting by Davide Barbuscia; Editing by Mark Porter

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Two Arkansas Males Discovered Responsible of Fraud and Cash Laundering in Reference to Proposed Elm Springs, Arkansas Wind Farm | USAO-WDAR

FAYETTEVILLE – A federal jury today convicted two Arkansas men for Wire Fraud, Aiding and Abetting Wire Fraud, Money Laundering, and Aiding and Abetting Money Laundering in connection with the development of a never-operating wind turbine and a proposed wind farm project in Elm Springs, Arkansas that was never built.

According to court documents and evidence presented during the trial, Jody Douglas Davis, 46, of Searcy, Arkansas, and Phillip Vincent Ridings, 64, of North Little Rock, Arkansas, formed a limited liability company called Dragonfly Industries in Texas in 2014 International, LLC (“Dragonfly”) and Arkansas Wind Power (“AWP”), an Arkansas limited company headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas, to develop a revolutionary wind turbine design that investors say will be installed in a proposed 311 acre wind farm to be installed for construction in Elm Springs, Arkansas.

As early as June 2014 through March 2018, Davis and Ridings conspired with Cody Fell of Springdale, Arkansas, and others, to raise money from investors who were told the investors’ money was being used to build a prototype wind turbine, according to the succeeding indictment to build and develop wind farms in Elm Springs, Arkansas, Iowa, and other states. The evidence presented at the trial indicated that Davis and Ridings used most of the $ 700,000 they received from investors for Davis and Ridings’ personal use. In particular, the evidence in the process revealed that investors were told that Dragonfly’s wind turbine could produce more energy than the traditional three-bladed wind turbines commonly used in existing wind farms; that accredited engineering firms and a University of Memphis engineering professor “validated” the Dragonfly wind turbine design; that the Department of Defense has shown great interest in purchasing Dragonfly wind turbines for use in combat zones; that a prototype of the wind turbine was about to be completed; that the leaders of the underdeveloped countries were ready to buy Dragonfly’s wind turbines; and that Dragonfly would soon be receiving a $ 10 million grant from the Department of Energy, when in truth neither of these representations was true.

Cody Fell pleaded guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion in December 2018 and will be convicted on September 17, 2021. A date for the sentencing of Davis and Ridings has not yet been set.

The acting US attorney David Clay Fowlkes announced from the Western District of Arkansas.

The case has been investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation.

Assistant US attorneys Kyra Jenner and Kenneth Elser are pursuing the case.

Related court documents can be found on the Public Access to Electronic Records website at www.pacer.gov.

ACE Trade Tackles Cryptocurrency Cash Laundering With KPMG, KGI Financial institution and CYBAVO

TAIPEI, September 2, 2021 / PRNewswire / – As nations around the world try to take control of cryptocurrencies to prevent financial crime, ACE exchange, a leading cryptocurrency exchange based in Taiwan, has proactively implemented numerous measures to meet the relevant requirements and to contribute to the fight against money laundering, Taiwan Regulators to create a safe and transparent cryptocurrency environment.

David Pan, founder of ACE Exchange, says security is a top priority for the company

To achieve this, ACE Exchange has partnered with KPMG, KGI Bank, CYBAVO and Lockton to provide AML and other financial crime protection on its platform and to provide a secure crypto trading platform for all users.

In recent years, crypto assets have grown in importance, especially among young investors. The exponential increase in popularity has also raised concerns about the inherent risks of unregulated transactions between cryptocurrency holders. To prevent cryptocurrencies from becoming a money laundering channel, authorities have tightened regulations for the industry, including the New Taiwan Cryptocurrency rules issued on July 1 which cryptocurrency exchanges require to verify and evaluate user identities.

“ACE Exchange has worked with KPMG to take relevant anti-money laundering and terrorist financing practices by rigorously verifying user information and identities prior to the introduction of the new Taiwanese AML regulations for cryptocurrencies Taiwan Criminal and investigative agencies to help set up comprehensive anti-money laundering mechanisms in the crypto room, “said David pan, Founder of ACE Exchange.

Security is a top priority at ACE Exchange

ACE Exchange offers double protection for the new Taiwan dollar and crypto assets. In 2020 the company founded the “FIA Fund Trust Custody” together with the KGI Bank. ACE Exchange is operated by the world-renowned blockchain security company CYBAVO and is equipped with a state-of-the-art security system for digital assets and a third-party digital wallet for users.

The story goes on

ACE Exchange’s partnership with S&P AA-rated international insurance company Lockton gives users all-round protection.

Since its inception, ACE Exchange has prioritized security and user protection, which in partnership with the world’s leading law firms, accounting firms and financial institutions has laid a solid foundation for regulatory compliance regarding AML and KYL.

In early 2018, ACE Exchange received guidance from KPMG on setting up transaction procedures and ensuring compliance with anti-money laundering and terrorist financing (CTF) regulations.

In 2021, Rex Chu, Risk Consultant and Executive Vice President of Forensic Accounting Services at KPMG Taiwan, assisted ACE Exchange in planning product development and operations in accordance with the relevant Taiwan Laws and regulations to meet the standards of high profile financial banks. It has put ACE Exchange at the forefront of the crypto industry in building and strengthening its risk management protocols and user protection mechanisms.

Via ACE Exchange

Founded in 2018 by David pan, former COO of KPMG Innovation and Startups, ACE Exchange is one of the largest cryptocurrency platforms with first-class digital security measures in Taiwan. It currently ranks second in Taiwan in terms of trading volume in Bitcoin, Ethereum and StableCoins. The brand has set itself the goal of building the most professional fiat-to-crypto exchange and providing a channel for easy access to cryptocurrencies for all Taiwanese people.

Cision

Cision

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SOURCE ACE exchange

Hogansburg Man Sentenced for Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana and Cash Laundering | USAO-NDNY

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Joshua Francis, 32 years old, a Hogansburg, NY resident, was sentenced to 60 months in prison today for conspiracy to distribute marijuana and drug money laundering, said Acting U.S. Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon, Kevin. with Kelly, Special Representative for the Buffalo Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); and Gregory S. Oakes, District Attorney for Oswego.

As part of his earlier admission of guilt, Francis admitted that he had smuggled large quantities of marijuana from Canada into the United States by boat via the Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation in New York State between January 2017 and August 2017. Francis also admitted that he had directed couriers in the United States to deliver marijuana to redistributors in the Syracuse area and elsewhere, and also to collect the proceeds from marijuana sales. Francis distributed at least 317 kilograms of marijuana.

In addition to his prison sentence, the court also sentenced Francis to four years’ supervised release and sentenced him to pay a fine of $ 501,850, the equivalent of proceeds from distributing marijuana.

This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the US Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), the Syracuse Police Department, and the Oswego County Drug Task Force, made up of special agents from HSI, members of the City Oswego Police Department, Oswego County Sheriff’s Office, Oswego County District Attorney’s Office investigators, SUNY Oswego Police Department, and US Border Patrol agents. The case was being prosecuted by US Assistant Attorney Thomas Sutcliffe.

Crypto change Binance tightens anti-money laundering checks after regulatory stress

  • Binance is rolling out stricter background checks
  • Changes introduced with immediate effect
  • The pressure from regulators has increased in recent weeks

FRANKFURT, Aug. 20 (Reuters) – Major cryptocurrency exchange Binance said Friday it would call for stricter background checks on customers with immediate effect to aid anti-money laundering efforts.

Binance, the world’s largest platform, has come under pressure for the past few months from regulators around the world who are concerned about crypto’s potential for money laundering and the risks to consumers from volatile crypto trading.

The exchange, whose holding company is registered in the Cayman Islands, has reduced its product offerings, including leveraged trading and tokens linked to stocks, and announced that it intends to improve relations with regulators. Continue reading

The money laundering potential of cryptocurrency exchanges has long troubled regulators, including U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, who raised concerns earlier this year.

The Dutch central bank said Monday that Binance was failing to comply with its anti-money laundering and terrorist financing laws.

Binance announced on their website that users would have to go through a verification process in order to access their products and services. Those who have not done so can only withdraw funds, cancel orders and close positions.

Until now, document-based ID checks at Binance were only required for users who wanted higher trading limits. Users will now need to upload an ID, driver’s license or passport to prove their identity, Binance said.

“This will further improve user protection and fight financial crime,” said the move.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, a Canadian known by his nickname “CZ”, tweeted a link to Binance announcementsays “Actions speak louder than words”.

The steps taken by crypto exchanges to perform identity and background checks remain different, with some requiring full documentation and others allowing users to sign up for accounts with just one email address.

Binance’s spot trading volume was $ 455 million in July, almost a third less than the previous month, but still number 1 in the world according to data from CryptoCompare.

Binance’s corporate structure is opaque, although the holding company is registered in the Cayman Islands according to UK court documents and the Malaysian Securities Commission.

Reporting by Krisztian Sandor in Frankfurt and Tom Wilson in London; Writing by Tom Wilson Editing by Rachel Armstrong and Elaine Hardcastle

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

New Anti Anti-Cash Laundering Providers for Crooks – Krebs on Safety

A new dark web service is being marketed to cyber criminals curious how their various cryptocurrency holdings and transactions can be linked to known criminal activity. Synchronized “Anti-analysis “, The service is intended to provide insight into how law enforcement agencies and private companies might flag their own payment activities trying to link suspicious cryptocurrency transactions to real people.

Sample provided by Anti-Analysis.

“Concerned about dirty funds in your BTC address? Take a look at Antinalysis, the new address risk analyzer, ”says the service’s announcement, referring to a link that is only accessible via ToR. “This service is aimed at people who need complete privacy on the blockchain and offers an adversary perspective so the user can understand the possibility that their money is being flagged under autocratic illegal charges. ”

The display continues:

Some people may ask why go into all of this? Simply withdraw in XMR and you’re done. The problem is that paying out in Monero raises eyebrows at exchanges and mailing it in cash is sometimes risky too. If you use the BTC-> XMR-> BTC method, you will still be flagged by our services which are flagged as high risk exchanges (not to mention LE and exchanges). Our service offers you a look from the perspective of LE / exchange (with similar accuracy, but completely different approach), which gives you a basic understanding of how “clean” your address is. “

Tom Robinson, Co-founder of the blockchain intelligence company Elliptical, Antinalysis said to help crypto-money launderers test whether their funds are being identified by regulated financial exchanges as the proceeds of crime.

“Cryptoassets have become an important tool for cyber criminals,” Robinson said wrote. “Ransomware and darknet markets depend on payments in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. However, washing and paying out this income is a great challenge. “

Cryptocurrency exchanges use blockchain analytics tools to screen customer deposits for links to illegal activity. By tracking a transaction through the blockchain, these tools can determine if the funds came from a wallet that is linked to ransomware or other criminal activity.

“The launderer therefore risks being identified as a criminal and reported to law enforcement agencies if he sends money to a company using such a tool,” said Robinson. “Antinalysis wants to help crypto-launderers avoid this by giving them a preview of what a blockchain analysis tool will do with their Bitcoin wallet and the funds it contains.”

Each Antinalysis lookup costs approximately $ 3 with a minimum purchase of $ 30. Other plans go up to $ 6,000 for 5,000 requests.

Robinson says the creator of Antinalysis is also one of the developers of Incognito Market, a darknet marketplace that specializes in the sale of narcotics.

“Incognito was launched in late 2020 and accepts payments in Bitcoin and currency, a crypto asset that offers increased anonymity, ”he wrote. “The introduction of Antinalysis likely reflects the difficulties that the market and its providers are facing in cashing out their Bitcoin proceeds.”

Elliptic wasn’t impressed with the quality of the information Antinalysis provided and said it did poorly at detecting links to major darknet markets and other criminal entities. But with countless criminals now making millions on ransomware, there is certainly a huge, untapped market for services that can help these people improve their operational security.

“It is also important because it is the first time it makes blockchain analytics available to the public,” wrote Robinson. “So far, this type of analysis has mainly been used by regulated financial service providers.”

That may not be entirely true. Nick Bax is an independent expert in tracking cryptocurrency transactions, and he said that Antinalysis appears to be little more than a clone of AMLBot, an anti-money laundering intelligence agency that first went online in 2019. AMLBot’s first advertisement was in Russian, while Antinalysis first appeared in an English-speaking darknet market.

The AMLBot user interface.

“It looks almost identical to the cheap version of AMLBot,” Bax told KrebsOnSecurity. “My guess is they’re just doing this white labeling.”

Bax said a look on AMLBot at the virtual currency address used in the sample provided by Antinalysis shows a nearly identical result. Here is the result from AMLBot for the same cryptanalysis performed by Antinalysis in the screenshot above in this story:

Response from AMLBot for the same cryptocurrency address provided as an example by Antinalysis.

“If you look at the breakdown, the percentages are all almost identical,” said Bax. “I use ALBot on occasion for good and righteous purposes. And it could also be useful for people who only sell things online to make sure they don’t get any tainted funds. “

Update, 1:42 p.m. ET: The story has been corrected to state that AMLBot has existed since 2019.

Pierre Girl Charged with Wire Fraud, Mail Fraud, and Cash Laundering | USAO-SD

Acting US Attorney Dennis R. Holmes announced that a woman from Pierre, South Dakota has been charged with wire fraud, postal fraud and money laundering by a federal grand jury.

Marietta Ravnaas, 52, was charged on August 3, 2021. She appeared before US Judge Mark A. Moreno on August 10, 2021 and pleaded not guilty to the indictment.

The maximum sentence if convicted is up to 20 years in federal prison and / or a fine of $ 500,000, three years supervised release, and up to $ 700 in the Federal Crime Victims Fund. A provision can also be ordered.

The indictment alleges that Ravnaas participated in a program that included unemployment benefits under the CARES law. In particular, other participants in the program have illegally obtained, owned, and shared the Personal Information (PII) of various individuals. The PII has been used to falsely and fraudulently claim unemployment benefits from various states. The indictment alleges that Ravnaas knowingly allowed the fraudulently received unemployment benefit payments to be transferred to her bank account and then, at the direction of other participants in the system, money was transferred. Ravnaas often transferred funds to other participants through WorldRemit, an international money transfer service. Ravnaas also kept part of the funds to use for their own ends.

The charges are just accusations and Ravnaas is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The investigations are being conducted by the Inspector General’s Social Security Agency, Inspector General’s Labor Office, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, and the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation. U.S. Assistant Attorney Ann M. Hoffman is pursuing the case.

Ravnaas was released due to a pending trial. The negotiation date is October 12, 2021.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to mobilize the Department of Justice’s resources in collaboration with government agencies to step up efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The task force supports efforts to identify and prosecute the most guilty national and international criminal actors and assists authorities charged with managing fraud prevention aid programs by, among other things, expanding and integrating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques, to detect fraudulent actors and their systems; and to share and use information and intelligence gained from previous enforcement efforts. For more information on the ministry’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.

Anyone with information about suspected COVID-19 fraud can report this by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline at 866-720-5721 or using the NCDF web complaint form at: https: // www .justice.gov / disaster-fraud / ncdf-disaster-complaint form.