New York is increasing the reward for those who report pandemic fraud.
Governor Kathy Hochul signed a legislative package to crack down on pandemic fraud. By increasing rewards for reporting fraud and increasing penalties for fraud that occurs during state emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic, these new laws will deter individuals from committing this crime as well as encourage the reporting of fraud.
“We are sending a clear message: New York has zero tolerance for fraud, especially in our most critical times of need,” Governor Hochul said. “These new laws will protect New Yorkers and incentivize them to report fraud and assist with recovery efforts while cracking down on bad actors and their deceitful attempts to turn a profit during emergencies.”
The first law increases the award amounts given to individuals who report fraud related to a State of Emergency. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, New Yorkers reported seeing potentially fraudulent acts perpetrated on the state. Currently, private citizens can file civil lawsuits on behalf of the government to help recover defrauded money and may be rewarded a percentage of the money recovered. With this new law, whistleblowers may be eligible to receive additional money if the fraud was perpetrated during a state of emergency.
The second increases penalties for fraud that occurs during a declared State of Emergency. This legislation will impose monetary penalties on any partnership, corporation, company, trust or association, or individual who commits such fraud. The new law empowers the Attorney General to take action for civil penalties against these entities.
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