US NEWS: The US secret service claims that nearly $ 100 billion has been stolen from Covid-19 aid

About $ 100 billion has been stolen from Covid-19 aid programs set up to help businesses and people who have lost their jobs as a result of the epidemic, the US Secret Service said on Tuesday.

The measure is based on Secret Service cases and information from the Department of Labor and Small Business Management, Roy Dotson, the organisation’s national coordinator responsible for fraud and fraud, in an interview.

The Secret Service did not file Covid-19 fraud cases prosecuted by the Department of Justice.

Although about 3% of the $ 3.4 trillion has been scattered, the amount stolen from the epidemic benefits program shows “the size of the pot attracts criminals,” Dotson said.

Most of that number comes from cheating unemployed people.

The Department of Labor reported that an estimated 87 million rand unemployment benefits were unpaid, a large part of which was created by fraud.

The Secret Service said it withheld more than $ 1.2 billion while investigating unemployment and loan fraud and returned more than $ 2.3 billion in fraudulent transactions in collaboration with financial and provincial partners to postpone transactions.

The Secret Service says it is investigating more than 900 crimes related to epidemic fraud, with cases in all provinces, and 100 people have so far been arrested.

The Department of Justice said last week part of its fraud prosecution of more than 150 defendants in more than 95 criminal cases and withdrew more than $ 75 million from fraudulent acquisitions through the Paycheck Protection Program, as well as dozens of luxury properties purchased. for profit.

One of the most well-known programs created under the CARES Act of March 2020, PPP has provided low interest rates, which are offset by small businesses that are struggling to meet the costs and costs of a pandemic-related closure.

Lawmakers at the start of the epidemic were focusing on security-related fraud, the Secret Service said.

Authorities have now prioritized the abuse of epidemic-related assistance because the organisation’s funding under the CARES Act has attracted the attention of people and organized crime networks around the world.

“Can we stop cheating? Will we do that? No, but I think we can prosecute those who need to be persecuted and we can do everything we can to recoup the fraudulent epidemic we can do, “said Dotson, a special assistant to the Secret Service who runs the organisation’s camp. Office in Jacksonville, Florida.

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