Prosecutors press forward after uncovering $8.9M in COVID-19 relief fraud across R.I.

THE U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE FOR THE District of Rhode Island has charged 30 people for $8.9 million in fraud from federal COVID-19 relief programs. /COURTESY U.S. DISTRICT COURT
PROVIDENCE – It started with a phone call to a local police department. A resident warned that two local businessmen had applied for federal COVID-19 funding for three restaurants that either had closed or they didn't own. The tip got passed on to the FBI, then to the desk of Lee H. Vilker, the criminal…

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