Filed Under: U.S.

Feds investigate billions in COVID-19 pandemic relief fraud

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The federal government is investigating and prosecuting what is turning out to be one of the biggest frauds in the history of the U.S., a new report from the New York Times revealed. Across the country, thousands of people stole billions of dollars of COVID-19 relief funding — all while the pandemic left millions of their fellow Americans unemployed.

Prosecutors are hustling to catch up with all the fraud, the Times said. So far, the feds have charged 1,500 people with defrauding the COVID-19 relief programs and have nailed more than 450 with convictions.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg: The government has “500 people working on pandemic-fraud cases across the offices of 21 inspectors general, plus investigators from the F.B.I., the Secret Service, the Postal Inspection Service and the Internal Revenue Service,” the Times reported. The Labor Department has nearly 40,000 of these COVID-19 fraud investigations still ongoing, and four dozen Small Business Administration agents are looking through 2 million loan applications for potential fraud.

So far, the government has discovered money sent to so-called “farms” that were actually just people’s front yards; unemployment monies given to dead, imaginary and jailed folks; loans to nearly 350 people who put their name down as “N/A”; and handouts to recipients who were literally on the government’s “Do Not Pay List.”

And there were the illicit massage parlors that nailed down loans; plus, high-ticket purchases like a mansion, a yacht, a $38,000 Rolex and a $57,000 Pokemon card.

The approximately $5 trillion in COVID-19 relief enacted by the Trump and Biden administrations was ripe for fraud, according to investigators talking to the Times, because the government was “relying on the honor system.”

President Joe Biden signed bills this summer designed to give investigators more time to nab fraudsters by extending the statute of limitations for some COVID-19 relief fraud from five years to 10 years. And it appears the government intends to use all of that time.

“There are years and years and years of work ahead of us,” the Department of Justice’s chief pandemic prosecutor, Kevin Chambers, said. “I’m confident that we’ll be using every last day of those 10 years.”

MAHMOUD BENNETT: MISMANAGED COVID RELIEF FROM THE START OF THE PANDEMIC IS TURNING OUT TO BE ONE OF THE LARGEST FRAUDS IN U.S. HISTORY

BILLIONS OF DOLLARS STOLEN BY THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ACROSS THE COUNTRY AS THE VIRUS LEFT MILLIONS UNEMPLOYED

THE NEW YORK TIMES REPORTS THE GOVERNMENT GAVE UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS TO THE INCARCERATED – THE IMAGINARY – AND DEAD PEOPLE
*IT ALSO SENT MONEY TO FARMS THAT TURNED OUT TO BE FRONT YARDS*

AND EVEN PAID MULTIPLE ILLICIT MASSAGE PARLORS THAT WERE LATER BUSTED FOR SEX CRIMES

SOME OF THE HIGH TICKET ITEMS BOUGHT BY FRAUDSTERS: A $38,000 ROLEX, A $57,000 POKEMON CARD, A MANSION AND A YACHT.

THAT FLOOD OF MONEY STEMMED FROM THE MULTI TRILLION DOLLAR RELIEF PACKAGES SIGNED INTO LAW BY BOTH PRESIDENT TRUMP AND PRESIDENT BIDEN

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS ALREADY CHARGED MORE THAN 1,500 PEOPLE WITH DEFRAUDING PANDEMIC-AID PROGRAMS

AND WITH TENS OF THOUSANDS OF INVESTIGATIONS TO GO – THEY’RE JUST GETTING STARTED

The federal government is investigating and prosecuting what is turning out to be one of the biggest frauds in the history of the U.S., a new report from the New York Times revealed. Across the country, thousands of people stole billions of dollars of COVID-19 relief funding — all while the pandemic left millions of their fellow Americans unemployed.

Prosecutors are hustling to catch up with all the fraud, the Times said. So far, the feds have charged 1,500 people with defrauding the COVID-19 relief programs and have nailed more than 450 with convictions.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg: The government has “500 people working on pandemic-fraud cases across the offices of 21 inspectors general, plus investigators from the F.B.I., the Secret Service, the Postal Inspection Service and the Internal Revenue Service,” the Times reported. The Labor Department has nearly 40,000 of these COVID-19 fraud investigations still ongoing, and four dozen Small Business Administration agents are looking through 2 million loan applications for potential fraud.

So far, the government has discovered money sent to so-called “farms” that were actually just people’s front yards; unemployment monies given to dead, imaginary and jailed folks; loans to nearly 350 people who put their name down as “N/A”; and handouts to recipients who were literally on the government’s “Do Not Pay List.”

And there were the illicit massage parlors that nailed down loans; plus, high-ticket purchases like a mansion, a yacht, a $38,000 Rolex and a $57,000 Pokemon card.

The approximately $5 trillion in COVID-19 relief enacted by the Trump and Biden administrations was ripe for fraud, according to investigators talking to the Times, because the government was “relying on the honor system.”

President Joe Biden signed bills this summer designed to give investigators more time to nab fraudsters by extending the statute of limitations for some COVID-19 relief fraud from five years to 10 years. And it appears the government intends to use all of that time.

“There are years and years and years of work ahead of us,” the Department of Justice’s chief pandemic prosecutor, Kevin Chambers, said. “I’m confident that we’ll be using every last day of those 10 years.”

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