WASHINGTON - December 22, 2021: The U.S. Secret Service has named Assistant Special Agent

in Charge (ASAIC) Roy Dotson of the Jacksonville field office as the National Pandemic Fraud Recovery Coordinator. In this role, DEA will coordinate efforts across multiple ongoing Secret Service investigations into the fraudulent use of COVID-19 relief applications, with stolen benefits nearing $100 billion.

The U.S. Secret Service continues to work closely with the U.S. Department of Labor and SBA Offices of Inspectors General (OIG) in identifying and preventing fraud related to Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Small Business Administration (SBA) loans. To date, Secret Service investigations into UI and SBA loan fraud have led to the seizure of more than $1.2 billion and the return of more than $2.3 billion of fraudulently obtained funds via Automated Clearing House reversals. The investigations have led to the arrest of 100 individuals responsible for UI and SBA loan fraud. They have developed a national network of task forces for the purpose of preventing, detecting, and investigating various forms of electronic crimes.

In a Press Release yesterday, the Secret Service said the following:

“The Secret Service currently has more than 900 active criminal investigations into fraud specific to pandemic-related relief funds,” said Roy Dotson. “That’s a combination of pandemic benefits and all the other benefits programs too. Every state has been hit, some harder than others. The Secret Service is hitting the ground running, trying to recover everything we can, including funds stolen from both federal and state programs.”

“The Secret Service has seen a huge uptick in electronic crime in furtherance of these fraud cases,” Dotson continued. “Criminals will often ask potential victims to open an account and move money for them for some reason as part of a ruse.” Fraudsters, for example, prey on people by engaging them online as part of a romance scam, phony job opportunity or other scheme, and then asking for financial favors. “Targeted individuals are often asked to open bank accounts and accept large sum deposits,” Dotson said. “As a result, people are becoming unwitting mules for stolen money.”

Wnctimes by Marjorie Farrington