In June 2021, feds reported that around $16 billion was stolen from pandemic unemployment funds.
But now, they’ve revised that number upwards- a lot.
They now say that $45.6B has been stolen in a massive series of fraud scams.
Methods used to steal the funds included using the Social Security numbers of dead people and prisoners to claim the aid.
Labor Department Inspector General Larry Turner said in a statement, “Hundreds of billions in pandemic funds attracted fraudsters seeking to exploit the [unemployment insurance] program, resulting in historic levels of fraud and other improper payments.”
The pandemic unemployment programs were rolled out to supplement inadequate state unemployment programs and to allow people whose employment status was displaced by the pandemic some time to job hunt in a landscape made difficult by the risk of contracting the virus.
But as it turns out, it was ripe for the plucking by the unscrupulous. Other aid programs intended to help also turned out to be perfect targets for criminals, including the Paycheck Protection Program, aimed at small businesses, and a federal aid program to provide food to needy children. This week, the Feds charged 47 people with stealing $250 million in food aid earmarked for low-income kids.
If nothing else, it proves that some things in America never change.