AP – Nearly $100 billion at minimum has been stolen from COVID-19 relief programs set up to help businesses and people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic, the U.S. Secret Service said Tuesday.
The estimate is based on Secret Service cases and data from the Labor Department and the Small Business Administration, said Roy Dotson, the agency’s national pandemic fraud recovery coordinator, in an interview. The Secret Service didn’t include COVID-19 fraud cases prosecuted by the Justice Department.
While roughly 3% of the $3.4 trillion dispersed, the amount stolen from pandemic benefits programs shows “the sheer size of the pot is enticing to the criminals,” Dotson said.
Most of that figure comes from unemployment fraud. The Labor Department reported about $87 billion in unemployment benefits could have been paid improperly, with a significant portion attributable to fraud.ADVERTISEMENT
The Secret Service said it has seized more than $1.2 billion while investigating unemployment insurance and loan fraud and has returned more than $2.3 billion of fraudulently obtained funds by working with financial partners and states to reverse transactions. The Secret Service says it has more than 900 active criminal investigations into pandemic fraud, with cases in every state, and 100 people have been arrested so far.
The Justice Department said last week that its fraud section had prosecuted over 150 defendants in more than 95 criminal cases and had seized over $75 million in cash proceeds derived from fraudulently obtained Paycheck Protection Program funds, as well as numerous real estate properties and luxury items purchased with the proceeds.
One of the best-known programs created through the March 2020 CARES Act, PPP offered low-interest, forgivable loans to small businesses struggling to meet payroll and other expenses during pandemic-related shutdowns.
Law enforcement early in the pandemic focused on fraud related to personal protective equipment, the Secret Service said. Authorities have now prioritized the exploitation of pandemic-related relief because the federal funding through the CARES Act attracted the attention of individuals and organized criminal networks worldwide.
“Can we stop fraud? Will we? No, but I think we can definitely prosecute those that need to be prosecuted and we can do our best to recover as much fraudulent pandemic funds that we can,” said Dotson, who is the Secret Service’s assistant special agent in charge of the agency’s field office in Jacksonville, Florida.
Paul Plante says
Keeping in mind that the senile old goofball Biden said he wasn’t going to be forcing people to have to come forward with any proof, because the old fool was going to run those programs based on trust, so Joe wouldn’t be making the fraudsters feel bad about themselves.
On Monday, February 22, 2021, the old goofball announced several changes to the SBA’s coronavirus relief programs to ensure “equitable” access to funding.
To Joe Biden, not allowing fraudsters access to those programs is unequitable.
According to the fact sheets the old fool put out back then, $1 Billion was set Aside for Businesses Without Employees Located in Low- and Moderate-Income (LMI) Areas.
According to Joe, those businesses without employees – which include sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals such as home repair contractors, beauticians, and small independent retailers – are 70% owned by women and people of color.
And that’s it.
So hand out the money based on trust because as Hussein Obama, the man with the big smile on his face which always reminded me of the Joker in the Batman comics, because he was “getting over,” something he spent his life doing, free-riding because he was black and special and owed things others who weren’t black like Obama had to actually work for, was always saying – it’s the right thing to do.
Hey, fraudsters have to eat too, and if they don’t have money, how can they keep contributing to the Democrats to keep them in power?
This Tammany Hall Democrat practices all over again, because they work so well for the Democrats!
Ask Boss Tweed and he will tell you, yes, it is so!
Paul Plante says
Can a person with a felony get a PPP loan?
The exception is for convictions of a felony involving fraud, bribery, embezzlement, or a false statement in a loan application.
If an owner was convicted of any of those crimes in the previous five years, the business would be ineligible for a PPP loan.
Blue Hoss says
No one trust the Justice Department or the Secret Service any longer. What would the Secret Service have to do with pandemic relief programs?
Paul Plante says
CHARLES MCWILLIAMS says
This happened during the trump administration, it is now being investigated.
Blue Hoss says
You say that like you voted for China Joe, if you did, then you are a problem.
Paul Plante says
They are Joe Biden’s programs, Charles, not Trump’s programs.
It was old Joe who opened up those programs to the felons and fraudsters who are the Democrat party base.
Joe Biden’s administration will end up being more inept and scandal ridden than that of Warren G. Harding with Teapot Dome, and U.S. Grant with the Black Friday (1869) gold speculation ring, and the Whiskey Ring scandal, and the Star Route ring, and the Salary grab, and the Sanborn incident.
Paul R Plante says
And Charles, assuming arguendo that you are correct, WHERE WAS THE CONGRESSIONAL OVERSIGHT OF THOSE PROGRAMS MANDATED BY OUR CONSTITUTION?
In OUR system of government, it is the House of Representatives that is responsible for how that money is spent.
Certainly a savvy dude like yourself is very familiar with the Congressional Oversight Manual updated January 16, 2020 by the Congressional Research Service, as follows:
Today’s lawmakers and congressional aides, as well as commentators and scholars, recognize that Congress’s lawmaking role does not end when it passes legislation.
Oversight is considered fundamental to making sure that laws work and are being administered in an effective, efficient, and economical manner.
This function is seen as one of Congress’s principal roles as it grapples with the complexities of American government.
Purposes, Authority, and Participants
Throughout its history, Congress has engaged in oversight — broadly defined as reviewing, monitoring, and supervising the implementation of public policy by the executive branch.
Investigating how a statute is being administered enables Congress to assess whether federal agencies and departments are administering programs in an effective, efficient, and economical manner.
The expansion of the national government’s size and scope has only increased Congress’s need for and use of available oversight tools to check on and check the executive.
The “checking” function serves to protect Congress’s policymaking role and its place under Article I in the U.S. constitutional system of checks and balances.
Woodrow Wilson, in his classic 1885 study Congressional Government, emphasized that the “informing function should be preferred even to its [lawmaking] function.”
He added that unless Congress conducts oversight of administrative activities, the “country must remain in embarrassing, crippling ignorance of the very affairs which it is most important it should understand and direct.”
Congress’s authority to conduct oversight comes from four overlapping sources: the Constitution, Supreme Court decisions, laws, and House and Senate rules.
First, oversight is an implicit constitutional responsibility of Congress.
According to historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., the Framers believed “it was not considered necessary to make an explicit grant of such authority.”
“The power to make laws implied the power to see whether they were faithfully executed.”
Congressional oversight of the executive is designed to fulfill a variety of purposes, such as those outlined below.
Ensure Executive Compliance with Legislative Intent
Congress, of necessity, must delegate discretionary authority to federal administrators.
To make certain that these officers faithfully execute laws according to the intent of Congress, committees and Members can review the actions taken and regulations formulated by departments and agencies.
Improve the Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Economy of Governmental Operations
A large federal bureaucracy makes it imperative for Congress to encourage and secure efficient and effective program management and to make every dollar count toward the achievement of program goals.
A basic objective is strengthening federal programs through better managerial operations and service delivery.
Such steps can improve the accountability of agency managers to Congress and enhance program performance.
Evaluate Program Performance
Systematic program performance evaluation remains an evolving technique of oversight.
Modern program evaluation uses social science and management methodologies — such as surveys, cost-benefit analyses, and efficiency studies — to assess the effectiveness of ongoing programs.
Investigate Alleged Instances of Poor Administration, Arbitrary and Capricious Behavior, Abuse, Waste, Dishonesty, and Fraud
Instances of fraud and other forms of corruption, wasteful expenditures, incompetent management, and the subversion of governmental processes can provoke legislative and public interest in oversight.
So tell us, Charles, WHERE WAS THE ******* HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES WHILE THIS FRAUD WAS GOING ON AS YOU SAY?
Oh, right, trying every way they possibly could to disrupt OUR government by trying to find ways to crucify Trump.