A report by an agency that monitors the federal stimulus program revealed that fraudsters may have stolen up to $60 billion from the various insurance programs that were created during the lockdown.
The agency that manages the various state unemployment programs reported that about $4.2 billion of fraud was committed from April 2020 to June 2022. The Labor Department identified about $45 billion worth of potential fraud from March 2020 to April 2022. The agency, which had estimated that at least 7.6% of the regular payments were fraudulent, noted that this figure could be higher.
Although the estimates and measures currently available do not fully reflect the scope of fraud, they can provide valuable insight into the potential risks that exist.
From April 2020 to September 2022, the government paid out $878 billion in unemployment insurance benefits. The agency noted that the implementation of new programs and the high demand for these benefits increased the risk of fraud.
According to the report, the Justice Department has been working to recover the money stolen from the taxpayers. One example of this is the case of a former state employee who used the identities of other people to submit almost 200 fraudulent applications for unemployment insurance.
In another instance, a person used stolen identities to file over 300 applications for unemployment insurance in various states. He was sentenced to spend over three years in prison.
Other prominent examples of this type of fraud include a rapper who claimed in a music video that he had carried out a scheme involving unemployment insurance.
The total amount of economic stimulus funds that have been misappropriated could be higher. According to the Labor Department, about $163 billion in benefits were “improper.” A portion of this was attributed to fraud. According to the CEO of ID.me, an online platform that helps people find jobs, $400 billion of the stimulus money could have been stolen.
Over the past two years, House Republicans have been requesting hearings to investigate the alleged fraud. However, Democrats have blocked these requests.
As a result, many American families have lost hundreds of billions of dollars in tax dollars due to the economic stimulus program's failure to prevent fraud. In a statement, Jason Smith, the chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, accused Democrats of refusing to acknowledge the issue.
“Congressional Democrats have shirked their responsibilities to investigate how this happened, what measures were taken to prevent it, and how much was lost,” Smith said.
The preceding is a summary of an article that originally appeared on Daily Wire.