JavaScript is off. Please enable to view full site.

Fraudsters likely stole $45.6 billion from U.S. COVID unemployment insurance program

Fraudsters likely stole $45.6 billion from U.S. COVID unemployment insurance program

Friday, September 23, 2022, 09:25 GMT+7
Fraudsters likely stole $45.6 billion from U.S. COVID unemployment insurance program
An empty hospital bed sits inside the former Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients at Providence Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, California, U.S., April 12, 2022. Picture taken April 12, 2022. Photo: Reuters

Fraudsters likely stole $45.6 billion from the United States' unemployment insurance program during the COVID-19 pandemic by applying tactics like using Social Security numbers of deceased individuals, a federal watchdog said on Thursday.

About a year ago, nearly $16 billion in potential fraud had been identified. The report issued Thursday by the inspector general for the U.S. Labor Department identified "an increase of $29.6 billion in potentially fraudulent payments."

The scammers had allegedly filed billions of dollars in unemployment claims in many states simultaneously while some of them got benefits using the identities of dead people and prisoners who were not eligible for aid. They also relied on suspicious emails that were hard to trace, the watchdog said in its report.

"We determined 205,766 Social Security numbers of deceased persons were used to file claims for UI (unemployment insurance) pandemic benefits," the report added.

The United States' jobless aid program started in 2020 in the early days of the coronavirus outbreak.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Justice Department tapped federal prosecutor Kevin Chambers to lead the department's efforts to help investigate fraudsters who used the pandemic as an excuse to bilk government assistance programs. 

In May 2021, Attorney General Merrick Garland launched a COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The United States is probing many fraud cases pegged to U.S. government assistance programs, such as the Paycheck Protection Program, unemployment insurance and Medicare.

Earlier this week, federal prosecutors charged 47 defendants, who were accused of stealing $250 million from a government aid program that was supposed to feed children in need during the pandemic.

A Minnesota non-profit organization, Feeding Our Future, was accused of orchestrating the plot. Its founder, Aimee Bock, denied wrongdoing.

In March, the Justice Department said it had brought over 1,000 cases of crimes involving jobless benefits during the pandemic.



Read more

Big Tobacco faces big EU counterfeit problem

Spanish police raided three clandestine tobacco factories early this year, seizing nearly 40 million euros ($44 million) worth of tobacco leaf and illicit cigarettes

2 days ago



‘Taste of Australia’ gala dinner held in Ho Chi Minh City after 2-year hiatus

Taste of Australia Gala Reception has returned to the Park Hyatt Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1 after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Vietnamese woman gives unconditional love to hundreds of adopted children

Despite her own immense hardship, she has taken in and cared for hundreds of orphans over the past three decades.

Vietnam’s Mekong Delta celebrates spring with ‘hat boi’ performances

The art form is so popular that it attracts people from all ages in the Mekong Delta

Vietnamese youngster travels back in time with clay miniatures

Each work is a scene caught by Dung and kept in his memories through his journeys across Vietnam

Latest news