The last two years have been great for a few relatively small segments of society: Online retailers, food delivery services, financial crooks:
Criminals have stolen close to $100 billion in pandemic relief funds, the U.S. Secret Service said Tuesday.
The stolen funds were diverted by fraudsters from the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and another program set up to dole out unemployment assistance funds nationwide.
More than $2.3 billion in stolen funds have been recovered so far, resulting in the arrest of more than 100 suspects who span the spectrum from individuals to organized groups, according to the agency. The government has shelled out about $3.5 trillion in Covid relief money since early 2020, when the pandemic began.
On the one hand, that $100 billion represents a relatively small slice of the unthinkably large $3.5 trillion the government has stuffed into the economy since March of last year.
On the other hand, $100 billion is still a metric buttload of stolen money. And that's not just a layman's opinion:
"I've been in law enforcement for over 29 years and worked some complex fraud investigations for 20 plus years, and I've never seen something at this scale," said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Roy Dotson...
Yeah, well, we've also never seen a $3.5 trillion infusion of printed cash because a bunch of government officials ordered the devastating shutdown of the nation's economy. But will anyone be held to account for this?
"There's no doubt that the programs were easily accessible online. And so, with that, comes the opportunity for bad actors to get into that mix," he said. "It was necessary to try to get these funds out to people that were truly hurting, and no fault of anybody."
It's good to see that our government is as competent and capable as ever!
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