Law360 Quotes Mark Matthews on Uptick in Virus Payment Fraud

04.03.2020
Law360

The rebate payments most Americans are due to get under the recently passed novel coronavirus relief bill haven't started going out yet, but the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation Division is already developing related fraud cases, its spokesman said Friday.

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Mark Matthews, a member of Caplin & Drysdale who served as CI's chief from December 1999 until the middle of 2002, told Law360 that any time Congress provides for a payment from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, even a relatively small one, it's amazing “how fast and robust the fraud schemes are, especially those directed at seniors.”

“A particular problem with the economic payment plan is that given [the] need to get these payments out ASAP, there is virtually no time for the IRS to develop any sort of antifraud controls tailored to this program,” Matthews said. “But the importance of getting these payments out would seem to outweigh the fraud concern.”

Still, he said, “you can go ahead and mark your calendar for the congressional hearings next year bashing the IRS for improper payments in their efforts to respond quickly.”

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