IRS-CI Investigating COVID-19 Fraud

Post Date: 3/29/21
Last Updated: 3/29/21


Cross References
- IR-2021-65

The Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) marks the oneyear anniversary of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act by pledging its continued commitment to investigating COVID-19 fraud.

Over the last year, IRS-CI has been combatting COVID-19 fraud related to the Economic Impact Payments, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and Employee Retention Credit. The agency has investigated more than 350 tax and money laundering cases nationwide totaling $440 million. These investigations covered a broad range of criminal activity, including fraudulently obtained loans, credits and payments meant for American workers, families, and small businesses.

"Criminals have tried funding their lavish lifestyles with money intended to provide Americans relief during one of the most difficult times in recent history", said Jim Lee, Chief of IRS Criminal Investigation. "We have investigated cases of criminals flaunting stolen money to buy fancy cars, boats and pay for luxury apartments while families and businesses struggle to make ends meet. IRS-CI special agents have done an extraordinary job identifying millions in stolen money and our work is far from over. We will not cease until every fraudulently obtained dollar is accounted for and the individuals behind the schemes are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

IRS-CI encourages the public to share information regarding known or suspected fraud attempts against any of the programs offered through the CARES Act. To report a suspected crime, taxpayers may visit

Tax preparers are encouraged to submit Form 3949-A, Information Referral, to the address on the form to report suspected fraudulent or abusive returns, including those with questionable Forms W-2. A Fraudulent return is a return in which the individual is attempting to file using someone else's name or SSN on the return or where the taxpayer is presenting documents or information that has no basis in fact. A potentially abusive return is one that may contain inaccurate information and may lead to an understatement of tax liability or an overstatement of a credit resulting in production of a refund to which the taxpayer may not be entitled.
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