U.S. Secret Service Says More Than $100 Billion Has Been Stolen From COVID Relief Programs Including $87B In Unemployment Fraud

Whew! While some of y’all are hoping for another pandemic shutdown to get those stimulus checks and unemployment benefits poppin’ again, the Secret Service is running them fraud numbers and they’re working hard to get them stolen coins back!

According to The Associated Press, nearly $100 billion has been stolen from COVID-19 relief programs since the start of the pandemic. The Secret Service announced that the Department of Labor and Small Business Administration have been collecting data from programs set up to help small businesses and people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and found that 3% of the $3.4 trillion dispersed was fraudulent.

The Labor Department reported that most of the stolen funds come from unemployment fraud, with about $87 billion being paid to people “improperly.”

In hopes of getting some of the funds back, the Secret Service is tapping in senior official Roy Dotson, who will work with big banks to seize stolen recovery funds. He will also be working with the Justice Department to help crack down on scammers.

Dotson told CNN the the goal is to “maximize our investigative impact” and “recover as much as we can.” He also noted that the Secret Service has already helped return more than $2.3 billion of the funds, and has arrested 100 people in the process.

The CARES Act, a $2 trillion coronavirus relief package, was enacted in March 2020 and brought unemployment benefits to millions. Unfortunately, scammers also took advantage of the bill, according to former FBI analyst Crane Hassold.

“Using platforms like Telegram or WhatsApp, scammers openly share techniques and best practices about how to most effectively submit fraudulent pandemic-related claims I channels dedicated to the topic,” Hassold told CNN.

The Secret Service is looking to prosecute thousands of additional people who submitted fraudulent documents for pandemic funds.

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