Experts say $ 400 billion in pandemic unemployment funds likely stolen
Some experts say unemployment fraud during the coronavirus pandemic could easily reach $ 400 billion, with most of that money likely ending up in the hands of international crime syndicates in China, Nigeria, Russia and elsewhere, reports Axios.
The federal government has allocated more than $ 896 billion to state unemployment insurance programs since March 2020, according to the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Labor, including enhanced benefits of $ 300 per week.
But many states were unprepared for the influx of unemployment claims filed in the early months of the pandemic due to old computer systems, fewer workers to process claims, and strict eligibility requirements.
Many eligible Americans struggled to receive funding at the time.
At least 70% of the stolen money has left the country, said Haywood Talcove, CEO of LexisNexis Risk Solutions.
“These groups are definitely supported by the state,” he said.
White House economist Gene Sperling told Axios the problem was inherited from the Trump administration.
“Widespread statewide pandemic unemployment insurance fraud during the previous administration is one of the most serious challenges we have inherited,” he said.
“President [Joe] Biden made it clear that this kind of criminal syndicate activity was despicable and unacceptable. That’s why we passed $ 2 billion for UI modernization in the US bailout, instituted a Department of Justice anti-fraud task force, and a whole-of-government initiative on identity theft and fraud. public benefits. ”
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