The Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations Division (IRS-CI) marks the first anniversary of the CARES Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act by committing to continue investigating fraud in the COVID-19.
Over the past year, the IRS-CI has fought COVID-19 fraud related to Economic Impact Payments, Paycheck Protection Program (P3), and Employee Retention Credit. The agency has investigated more than 350 tax and money laundering cases nationwide for a total amount of $ 440 million. These investigations covered a wide range of criminal activity, including fraudulently obtained loans, credits and payments intended for American workers, families and small businesses.
“Criminals have tried to finance their lavish lifestyles with money meant to help Americans during one of the most difficult times in recent history,” said Jim Lee, head of criminal investigations at the IRS. “We have investigated cases of criminals posting stolen money to buy luxury cars, boats and pay for luxury apartments as families and businesses struggle to make ends meet. IRS-CI Special Agents have done an amazing job identifying millions of stolen money and our job is far from over. We will not stop until every dollar obtained fraudulently has been accounted for and the individuals behind the schemes are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. “
The IRS-CI encourages the public to share information regarding known or suspected fraud attempts against any of the programs offered by the CARES Act. To report a suspected crime, taxpayers can visit IRS.gov.
The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) law was enacted on March 27, 2020 to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans suffering from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief provided by the CARES Act was the authorization of up to $ 349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses for job maintenance and certain other expenses, through the Check Protection Program. payroll. In April 2020, Congress authorized more than $ 300 billion in additional funding and in December 2020, an additional $ 284 billion.
The Paycheck Protection Program allows qualifying small businesses and certain other organizations to receive loans with terms of two to five years and an interest rate of 1%. Businesses must use the proceeds from PPP loans for staff costs, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities. The PPP allows the remission of interest and principal if companies spend the proceeds of these expenses within a specified time frame and use at least a certain percentage of the loan for wage costs.
To learn more about COVID-19 scams and other financial systems, visit IRS.gov. Official IRS information on COVID-19 and Economic Impact Payments can be found on the Coronavirus Tax Relief Page, which is frequently updated.