- According to the US Labor Department, approximately $87 billion in unemployment benefits may have been paid incorrectly, with a significant portion attributable to fraud.
- According to the US Secret Service, nearly $100 billion has been stolen from Covid-19 relief programs set up to assist businesses and people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
According to Roy Dotson, the agency’s national pandemic fraud recovery coordinator, the estimate is based on Secret Service cases and data from the Labor Department and the Small Business Administration.
The Secret Service did not include Covid-19 fraud cases prosecuted by the Justice Department.
While only about 3% of the $3.4 trillion was distributed, the amount stolen from pandemic benefit programs demonstrates that “the sheer size of the pot is enticing to the criminals,” according to Dotson.
The majority of that figure is due to unemployment fraud.
According to the Labor Department, approximately $87 billion in unemployment benefits may have been paid incorrectly, with a significant portion attributable to fraud.
The Secret Service stated that it had seized more than $1.2 billion while investigating unemployment insurance and loan fraud. It has returned more than $2.3 billion in fraudulently obtained funds by collaborating with financial partners and states to reverse transactions.
According to the Secret Service, there are more than 900 active criminal investigations into pandemic fraud, with cases in every state, or 100 people have been arrested thus far.
Last week, the Justice Department declared that its fraud section had prosecuted over 150 defendants in more than 95 criminal cases. Also seized more than $75 million in cash proceeds from fraudulently obtained Paycheck Protection Programme funds. As well as numerous real estate properties also luxury items purchased with the proceeds.
Authorities have prioritised the exploitation of pandemic-related relief because federal funding through the CARES Act drew the attention of individuals and organised criminal networks all over the world.
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