In this paper, we profile coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) relief program frauds and agencies tasked with investigating those related crimes. Using a unique dataset of Department of Justice (DOJ) press releases from March 2020 to February 2022 relating to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Securities (CARES) Act, we qualitatively examine characteristics (e.g., wrongdoing, perpetrators, organizations affected, and collusions versus single actors) of approximately $2.6 billion of alleged fraud across the various relief programs. The most egregious fraud cases involved the abuse of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and/or multiple CARES Act relief programs. Although there is some collusive fraud, most cases list only a single defendant. Lastly, we provide evidence suggesting a high degree of collaboration across agencies in the investigative process. These results also can help practitioners and academics better understand fraudulent activities of federal programs.

Data Availability: The data are available from the authors.

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