Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Michael Rivera was interviewed for a news story about the potential for fraud following the distribution of CARES Act stimulus funds. The article, which aired on News 5 (Cleveland, Ohio), focused on the funds received by the state of Ohio and businesses within that state. Earlier this month, Congress approved a $2.2 trillion CARES Act relief package to help offset the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, extending aid to individuals, businesses of all sizes, and local governments, among others. Michael warned that given the vast sums of money being allocated under the stimulus programs it is inevitable that there will be “people who are going to take advantage of the program.” Oversight bodies, including a new Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (SIGPR), will conduct audits and investigations to uncover misconduct with respect to stimulus fund programs¬† The White House recently nominated Brian Miller to fill the role SIGPR to monitor for fraud and prosecute those who misuse funds. “The big question,” says Michael, “is whether he’s [Brian Miller] going to be willing to act independently and be very aggressive.”

Michael formerly served as the Chief Investigative Counsel for the Special Inspector General for the Trouble Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), the agency that investigated fraud with respect to TARP funds disbursed following the financial bailout in 2008. Michael is advising clients on how to protect themselves in requesting CARES Act stimulus funds, utilizing those funds, and handling inquiries from the oversight bodies.

The full article, “From National Guard to Small Businesses: Tracking the Stimulus Money Pouring into Ohio,” was published and aired on News 5 (Cleveland, Ohio) on April 29 and is available online.