Published on October 13th, 2022 | by Mitchell Driskell1
The Local Lawyer: Barstool Briefs Part 22: “Short Stories on Legal Affairs”
Team America: Strike Force
The Department of Justice has announced the formation of “Strike Force Teams” to focus on COVID-19 pandemic financial fraud. In response to the pandemic, the government began raining money out to individuals and businesses. The pandemic programs were poorly designed and susceptible to fraudulent claims. One program gave unemployment benefits to dead people, prison inmates, and even imaginary, completely made-up people. One program gave to 342 companies that did not even give the government a name or any tangible identification information like a federal ID number, address, or phone number.
In one screw up, 29 states paid unemployment benefits to the same person. In another, a Postal Service employee got an $82,900 loan for a business called “U.S. Postal Services.” Another individual got 10 loans for 10 nonexistent bathroom-renovation businesses, using the email address of a burrito shop.
One YouTuber boasted online about using our tax money to buy a $57,000 Pokémon trading card, and another person posed about purchasing a $38,000 Rolex with covid money. There was simply no oversight.
Now the government is trying to catch up and fix the fraud they allowed to happen with our money. Last month, President Biden extended the statute of limitations for another 10 years giving the new Strike Force Teams until 2033 to arrest and prosecute pandemic fraud cases. I heard an estimate the other day of two billion dollars ($2,000,000,000) fraudulently paid from our tax dollars—in North Mississippi alone. From about Highway 82 to the state line, a small area in size and population, two billon of our tax dollars went to fraudulent claims.
A Washington Post reporter claimed to have heard a Justice Department official estimate $163 billion in fraudulent covid relief payments. Enter the Strike Force to focus on Pandemic Fraud—crime that usually involves unlawfully participating in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, unemployment insurance programs, or COVID-19 health care. The new Strike Force Teams will be made up of federal prosecutors and law enforcement agents from the FBI, Secret Service, IRS, and more than a half-dozen other executive agencies. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the DOJ has charged over 1,500 defendants with crimes across the country and seized over $1.2 billion in misappropriated relief funds.
If you think a Strike Force Team could find something on you, the government says they will go more lightly on you if you tell on yourself. The Department of Justice recently announced new policies related to self-disclosure of Pandemic Fraud, and self-disclosure might keep the company alive and the people that run the company out of jail. Otherwise, Strike Force Teams are on the job and, if you committed Pandemic Fraud, might be on your trail.
Was I Not Supposed to Say That
Los Angeles County (CA) is governed by a Board of Supervisors, and one of them is Sheila Kuehl. They were looking for documents or information on her computer or phone about a government contract that has been awarded to Kuel’s friend for years. Normally, if the government is going to hire a private business to do a job, the government has to announce the job and let businesses submit bids describing how they would do the job and how much it would cost the government.
There is an exception to this rule when the job the government needs done is so unique that there is only one business that can do it, and, when that is the case, the government is allowed to give that special company the job in a “no bid” contract.
For years, Kuehl’s friend (Kuehl was in this person’s wedding—they tight) was given a no bid contract to run a suicide prevention hot line. A job that is not unique at all. There are literally thousands of businesses and non-profits that run telephone hotlines, but those businesses were not allowed to bid the job because it went straight to Kuehl’s friend.
The LA County corruption investigators obtained a subpoena to search Kuehl’s home. Subpoenas are supposed to be secret, which makes sense because if a person knows a subpoena is coming then they have a chance to ditch the bad evidence. In a press conference the morning the cops showed up to search Kuehl’s house, she told the press that both the LA Times and the County Attorney told her the night before the search that the cops were coming! Now the LA Times and the County Attorney are being investigated for obstruction of justice, and rightfully so.
Kuehl is so brazen and clueless that she openly admitted that she and the other “powers that be” do not play by the rules and do not have to play by the rules. Also, when the investigators asked Kuehl for her cell phone, she said she lost her phone the night before the search after being tipped off that the investigators were coming. Awesome.
Mitchell Driskell practices law with the Tannehill Carmean firm and has been an Oxford lawyer for twenty two years. You can call him at 662.236.9996 and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He practices criminal law, civil law and family law.