(RightWing.org) – As of December 9, the US government has distributed roughly $3.5 trillion of the $4.5 trillion allocated by Congress for COVID-19 relief programs. However, the rapid relief money attracted criminals leading to the loss of billions of dollars and dozens of arrests.
On December 21, the US Secret Service announced the appointment of Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAIC) Roy Dotson of Jacksonville, Florida, as head of the National Pandemic Fraud Recovery Unit.
According to the statement, potential fraud related to COVID-19 relief funds could total nearly $100 billion based on the aggregate of a Small Business Administration Inspector General statement submitted to the House of Representatives on March 25 and a semi-annual Inspector General report dated September 30.
The U.S. Secret Service announced Tuesday that nearly $100 billion in federal pandemic relief has been stolen or fraudulently obtained over the past two years
— Christine M. T. Pitts, PhD (@cmtpitts) December 22, 2021
So far, Secret Service investigations into fraud related to unemployment insurance and Small Business Administration loans led to the return of more than $2.3 billion in funds and the seizure of an additional $2.3 billion. Additionally, federal agents arrested roughly 100 individuals.
ASAIC Dotson confirmed the Secret Service has more than 900 active investigations involving pandemic-relief-related funds. According to him, criminals have hit every state, “some harder than others,” and the agency is doing its best to retrieve fraudulently obtained funds.
Hopefully, the fraud recovery unit can recoup a substantial amount of the outstanding losses with the help of the Secret Service’s Cyber Fraud Task Forces working alongside other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.
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