WASHINGTON (TND) — Billions of taxpayer dollars for the COVID-19 Lost Wages Assistance program went to improper payments that the Federal Emergency Management Agency failed to control.
Open the Books founder Adam Andrzejewski joined The National Desk’s Jan Jeffcoat Friday morning to discuss the money.
“The president, by August of 2020, authorized FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to provide extra unemployment payments to people who had real needs,” he said. “It was up to $44 billion worth of extra payments. And eventually, very quickly, within 11 days, about $37 billion was allocated from the Federal Emergency Management System into the state's unemployment aid system to provide additional dollars ... There was $3.7 billion basically stolen from the program on these improper payments."
It's yet another case of economic fallout from pandemic-related programs.
Andrzejewski says it comes down to a "lack of control" that led to so much cash getting into the hands of the wrong people.
“Through the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, they piggyback off the state unemployment aid programs. And those add a complete lack of accounting control and fraud,” he said. “This is the greatest public fraud in the history of the country that came out of our unemployment state programs ... Congress had allocated $800 billion to the Unemployment Aid Program, again to serve people who had real needs. And now we know that up to half of it, $400 billion, was stolen by criminals, cons artists and crime syndicates around the world."
Andrzejewski says it's a prime issue for the new Republican majority in the House to investigate within their fraud committees.