Nearly one hundred billion dollars have been stolen from the US federal government’s Pandemic Aid Fund, which was created to support businesses and individuals suffering economic hardship due to Covid-19, the law enforcement agency of the US Department of Homeland Security said.
The estimate is based on data from the Secret Service, the Department of Labor and the Small Business Registry, Roy Dotson, coordinator of the Epidemiological Fraud Division at the Investigative Service, said in an interview. The Secret Service did not include in the estimated value of the stolen funds amounts for which the Department of Justice has already initiated criminal proceedings.
While that’s only three percent of the $3,400 billion that has been pushed out of the support budget, it also indicates how tempting the huge financial envelope is for criminals, Dotson said.
Most of the money taken illegally has been claimed as unemployment benefits.
According to the Department of Labor, about $87 billion could have been raised illegally, much of which may have been intentional fraud.
As a result of investigative intelligence work, $1.2 billion of funds mistakenly withheld as unemployment benefits and support loans have been seized, and more than $2.3 billion has been recovered by actively working with various financial partners and member states to repay the seized sums. wrong friday.
The department is still conducting more than 900 investigations into epidemic subsidies.
Such cases exist in every US state, and about a hundred people have so far been arrested for related crimes.
The Federal Department of Justice said last week that its fraud division has sued more than 150 people in 95 cases and has already seized $75 million from fraudsters, valuable real estate and movables purchased with stolen money.
Editorial photo: MTI/EPA/Michael Reynolds
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