Wed. Mar 22nd, 2023

Greater than 1,000 individuals have pleaded responsible or have been convicted on federal prices of defrauding the myriad COVID-19 aid applications that Congress established within the early days of the pandemic. And over 600 different individuals and entities face federal fraud prices.

However that is simply the beginning, in accordance with investigators scheduled to testify Wednesday to a congressional committee as Home Republicans mark the start of what they promise can be aggressive oversight of President Joe Biden’s administration.

The Home Committee on Oversight and Accountability is holding its first listening to within the new Congress on fraud and waste in federal pandemic spending. In complete, Congress authorized about $4.6 trillion in spending from six coronavirus aid legal guidelines, starting in March 2020 when Donald Trump was president.

“We owe it to the American individuals to unravel the best theft of American taxpayer {dollars} in historical past,” stated the chairman of the committee, Rep. James Comer, Republican of Kentucky.

The Authorities Accountability Workplace is anticipated to inform the committee that the variety of circumstances of suspected fraud is definite to develop within the coming months. For instance, the inspector common for the Small Enterprise Administration has greater than 500 ongoing investigations involving mortgage applications designed to assist companies meet working bills in the course of the pandemic. The inspector common for the Labor Division continues to open at the very least 100 unemployment insurance coverage fraud investigations every week.

The GAO stated the greater than 1,000 convictions associated to COVID-19 aid fraud are one measure of how in depth it was. It is unknown how a lot cash was misplaced to fraud, the GAO additionally stated, but it surely reported in December that an extrapolation of Labor Division knowledge would recommend greater than $60 billion in fraudulent unemployment insurance coverage funds in the course of the pandemic. However the GAO additionally warned that such an extrapolation has inherent limitations and ought to be interpreted with warning.

Nonetheless, lawmakers are anxious to discern how a lot theft has occurred and what could be executed to cease it in future emergencies.

“We should establish the place this cash went, how a lot ended up within the arms of fraudsters or ineligible contributors, and what ought to be executed to make sure it by no means occurs once more,” Comer stated.

Some 20 inspectors common work collaboratively to research pandemic aid spending. Michael Horowitz, who chairs a committee Congress created in March 2020 to steer oversight of COVID-19 spending, can also be scheduled to testify.

In his ready remarks, Horowitz stated the committee issued a fraud alert this week relating to using greater than 69,000 questionable Social Safety numbers to acquire $5.4 billion in pandemic loans and grants.

Additionally testifying is David Smith, an assistant director of the Workplace of Investigations on the U.S. Secret Service, who predicts that efforts to get well stolen belongings and maintain criminals accountable for pandemic fraud will proceed for years to return.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *