Fraudsters stole nearly $100B in US COVID relief: officials

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Fraudsters stole nearly $100B in US COVID relief: officials

Nearly $100 billion of COVID-relief funds have been fraudulently obtained in the US since the government rolled out the benefits during the pandemic, officials said.

The Secret Service revealed the massive figure in a Tuesday press release announcing the existence of new measures to capture cheats and seize the stolen funds.

The federal law enforcement agency has nearly 1,000 active investigations into the fraud.

The suspects generally submit phony applications to get the benefits.

A new position was created within the Secret Service to spearhead the efforts to retrieve the money that was illegally obtained through unemployment insurance, Small Business Administration loans and other federal and state programs.

US unemployment webpage.
COVID relief fraud has occurred in every US state, federal officials said.
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File

The position of National Pandemic Fraud Recovery Coordinator will be held by Roy Dotson, an assistant special agent in charge of the Jacksonville field office.

“The Secret Service currently has more than 900 active criminal investigations into fraud specific to pandemic-related relief funds,” Dotson said in a statement.

“That’s a combination of pandemic benefits and all the other benefits programs too. Every state has been hit, some harder than others.”

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