Original article at The National Desk.
WASHINGTON (TND) — More than three years after the start of the pandemic new reports continue finding trillions of dollars were misspent on federal aid.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office released this new reportshowing that $135 billion was stolen during the pandemic.
CEO of Open the Books Adam Andrzejewski joined The National Desk’s Jan Jeffcoat to discuss how this happened and how much has been recovered.
"Well, the criminals were able to run wild through our unemployment systems. Criminals, con artists and crime syndicates from around the world just racked up huge frauds. And so, the government is moving too slow now. We're out three years, and this latest estimate of one out of every $7 that was stolen from the unemployment system sounds like it's a big number, but it's probably underestimated by at least half," Andrzejewski said. "We expect the total fraud coming out of the unemployment aid system to approach $200 billion. You already had Maryland who audited every single one of their transactions and half of them were fraud and the Department of Labor itself says that 21% of all aid was stolen. So this number is still too low and underestimated."
Andrzejewski added that through the myriad of federal programs, you have probably about $200 billion worth of fraud and stolen money out of the unemployment program and $200 billion worth of fraud out of the Small Business Program administered by the Small Business Administration on the Paycheck Protection Program, the PPP.
Reports show that in August, the Department of Justice announced it was taking action against 371 defendants for more than $836 million in fraud, including dozens with connections to violent crime.