Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has made a surplus of financial relief available. A new report notes criminals have made off with nearly $100 billion of that relief.
According to CNBC, the Secret Service noted the stolen funds come from fraudsters of the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, and an additional program to assist in unemployment funds nationwide.
Over $2.3 billion stolen funds have been recovered, leading to the arrest of over 100 suspects, ranging from organized groups to single individuals. Since the pandemic’s start, the government has distributed $3.5 billion in Covid relief money.
The Secret Service has nominated Assistant Special Agent in Charge Roy Dotson to the position of National Pandemic Fraud Recovery Coordinator to manage the fraud cases across the nation.
“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,” Dotson said.
“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.”