Much of the misdirected aid may never be recovered.
A report from the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee has found that Fraud or improper payments accounted for more than $90 billion of the government’s emergency pandemic aid for the unemployed and small businesses, reports Bloomberg News in a story cited by Crains NY. Almost $87 billion will have been paid in improper or fraudulent supplemental unemployment insurance claims by the time the program expires in September, 2021. That’s an increase from $63 billion in fraudulent payments reported in February, according to data from the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.
The report also found that the Small Business Administration approved 57,500 Paycheck Protection Program loans worth $3.6 billion to businesses who had been flagged by the government as entities that shouldn’t receive payments. The total fraud figures could be far higher than those detailed by the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee. An academic study by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and released earlier this month suggested that about 15 percent of the 11.8 million PPP loans made—totaling $76 billion—had at least one signifier of fraud. A select House subcommittee charged with overseeing the pandemic response found in a March report that less than 1 percent of the $84 billion in stimulus-related fraud identified had been recovered by the Department of Justice as a result of criminal and civil investigations.
Source: The Crime Report https://thecrimereport.org/2021/09/02/watchdog-reveals-billions-paid-in-fraudulent-covid-19-aid/