Eight more defendants charged in COVID-19 relief fraud schemes | USAO-SDGA

SAVANNAH, GA:  Eight more people have been charged in federal court with participating in COVID-19 relief fraud schemes, with two of them pleading guilty.

Each defendant is charged via an Information as the result of ongoing investigations into misuse of the U.S. government’s COVID-19 financial relief programs, said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. The charges carry statutory penalties up to 20 years in prison, along with substantial amounts of restitution and financial penalties, followed by a period of supervised release.

There is no parole in the federal system.

“Millions of distressed businesses found much-needed financial assistance during the pandemic through the U.S. government’s COVID-19 relief programs,” said U.S. Attorney Estes. “It’s disappointing that others abused these programs not for saving a valid business, but for lining their own pockets.”

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed into law in March

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COVID Relief: SBA Could Improve Communications and Fraud Risk Monitoring for Its Arts and

What GAO Found

The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program was created to financially assist businesses in the performing arts and entertainment industries hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Small Business Administration (SBA) approved 73 percent of the 17,328 applications it received for the program as of December 31, 2021. Smaller businesses (those with 50 or fewer employees) represented over 90 percent of award recipients. Of the six types of eligible businesses, movie theaters had the highest median award amount (see figure).

Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Recipients and Median Awards, by Eligible Business Type, as of December 31, 2021

Most applicants viewed SBA’s Shuttered Venue program communications negatively, according to a GAO survey. The agency changed program guidance frequently and the survey estimates that 85 percent of applicants found these changes to be challenging. Customer service was hard to access and did not provide applicant-specific assistance, most survey respondents reported.

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Marketing trends for Oct. 21, 2022

Losers

The media: Trust in the media is nearly at its lowest, according to a Gallup poll released this week. The poll found that just 34% of Americans trust mass media to report “fully, accurately and fairly”—that percentage is only two points higher than the lowest recorded Gallup poll on media trust in 2016. A scant 7% of Americans said they have “a great deal” of trust and confidence in the media. Some 27% said they have “a fair amount,” 28% said they do not have much and 38% have none at all in newspapers, TV and radio. The “no trust” figure is a record high.

YouTube: The Google-owned video site was pooh-poohed by American Eagle Chief Marketing Officer Craig Brommers in an Advertising Week panel. He called YouTube an “infuriating product because it actually blocks me from what I want to get to,” and noted that the platform does

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How a startup pet health company is using direct mail to break through the noisy digital landscape

This article is also available in Spanish. Please use the toggle above the headline to switch languages. Visit digiday.com/es to read more content in Spanish.

As more people are working from home, subscription-based pet healthcare startup Fuzzy, is leveraging direct mail to reach those people and ultimately boost brand awareness. 

Like a number of other brands once reliant on digital performance marketing tactics, Fuzzy is beefing up its media mix, looking at alternative marketing channels like direct mail as data privacy regulations have muddied advertiser data options. Earlier this year, direct-to-consumer brand Parachute made a similar move. 

“You get back to the basics in a roundabout way,” said Harley Butler, CMO at Fuzzy. “Instead of just micro-targeted [ads] and you’re obsessed with that, you really start to refocus on what your broader go-to-market messaging [and] strategy is.”

The six-year-old, California-based company leaned more heavily into direct mail about six months

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