PoliticsUS ups the ante: $45.6 billion estimated to have been siphoned off...

    US ups the ante: $45.6 billion estimated to have been siphoned off in Covid unemployment fraud

    US ups the ante: $45.6 billion estimated to have been siphoned off in Covid unemployment fraud

    A federal watchdog released a report Thursday that fraudsters may have stolen $45.6 billion from the unemployment insurance during the Covid pandemic, using the Social Security numbers of dead people and other tactics to mislead and defraud the US government.

    The new estimate is a dramatic increase from the roughly $16 billion in potential fraud identified a year ago, and illustrates the immense task still ahead of the government as it seeks to identify losses, recover funds, and hold criminals accountable for stealing from federal aid programs.

    The report, issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) inspector general, paints a bleak portrait of the country’s unemployment aid program that began under the Trump administration in 2020.

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    More than 1,000 people have been charged with fraud in unemployment aid since the beginning of the pandemic in the US and authorities have identified $45.6 billion in potentially fraudulent benefits, the Labor Department supervisor announced Thursday.

    The alert from the Inspector General of the Labor portfolio indicates that that money would have been delivered to individuals with a social security number registered in multiple states of the countrydeceased persons, requested from suspicious email accounts or from federal prisoners.

    The indictment of 1,000 people and the potential multimillion-dollar fraud “underscores the magnitude of this problem,” Inspector General Larry Turner said in a statement.

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    In the first five months since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, More than 57 million people registered in the United States for the unemployment assistance programa joint federal and state initiative that has been the first line of action against the impact of the lack of employment.

    According to the note, the injection of billions of dollars that this program received from federal funds in the midst of the epidemic gave individuals and organized criminal groups a high-level target.

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    Since the start of the pandemic, US authorities have opened more than 190,000 investigations for potential fraud in these aidsa figure more than 1,000 times higher than the usual volume.

    Of the 1,000 people who have already been charged with fraud, “more than 400” have been sentenced to date, the statement added, according to which those sentences add up to more than 7,000 months in prison in total.

    Source: La Opinion

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