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Large group accused of stealing from COVID-19 pandemic program

Group accused of pandemic program scheme
Posted at 12:05 PM, Sep 21, 2022

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The Justice Department said charges will be brought against 47 people were involved in a large COVID-19-related fraud scheme.

The scheme was uncovered as this group of people stole from a pandemic program meant to help and feed children in need.

Prosecutors say the program claimed to feed thousands a day but instead used millions to buy luxury cars, real estate and fund international trips.

"They lied. They prepared up their scheme, They papered up their scheme with false documents, in some cases, creating Children from whole cloth," says U.S. Postal Inspection Service Inspector in Charge Ruth Mendonca.

Charges range from conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering and receiving illegal kickbacks.

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Marcos Icahuate joined the KGUN team in September 2022. He previously worked on digital content in Southern California's Imperial County where he was raised.