Covid Fraud: A Staggering $600 Billion, by James Bovard

Where there is government there is fraud, and where there is big government spending, there is big fraud. From James Bovard at brownstone.org:

COVID fraud is at this point a redundant phrase. Congress appropriated more than $5 trillion for COVID relief but almost $600 billion may have been lost to fraud — an astounding 12%. Washington’s pandemic pratfalls are the greatest federal boondoggle of this century.

Prosecutors are having a turkey shoot nailing COVID crooks: More than 1,500 have been indicted and almost 500 have been convicted. On September 14, the Justice Department announced the creation of three COVID-19 fraud strike force teams.

When President Biden recently signed a law to extend the time to prosecute COVID fraud, he declared, “My message to those cheats out there is this: You can’t hide. We’re going to find you.” But the sheer amount of fraud makes it unlikely that the vast majority of thieves will be charged.

Policymakers acted as if waiving standard federal fraud protections would somehow thwart the COVID virus. On September 22, the Labor Department inspector general estimated that COVID-19 unemployment fraud amounted to $45 billion and could exceed $163 billion.

“Overseas organized crime groups flooded state unemployment systems with bogus online claims, overwhelming antiquated computer software benefits in blunt-force attacks that siphoned out millions of dollars,” NBC News reported.

Prison inmates, drug gangs, and Nigerian racketeers easily plundered the program. One swindler collected unemployment benefits from 29 different states. In the first year of the pandemic, Maryland detected more than 1.3 million fraudulent unemployment claims — equal to 20% of the state’s population

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