Biden begins push for funding for pandemic fraud measures

News Summary

  • That’s more than the government spent annually before the pandemic.Money went to boost unemployment insurance programs, help those in the gig economy who lost work, cover government costs and keep businesses afloat.“On the whole, those programs did enormous good,” Sperling said.
  • Details would need to be ironed out with Congress.Soon after the swaths of the U.S. economy were shut down after the coronavirus hit the country in 2020, Congress began authorizing massive relief measures to help governments, businesses and individuals who were impacted.
  • The Labor Department estimated there was $164 billion in improper unemployment insurance payments alone — much of it to fraudstersMany of the scams relied on fake or stolen personal information.Biden’s plans aim to deal with prosecutions and prevention.
  • He’s asking for $600 million for prosecution, including funds to create at least 10 new Justice Department strike forces in addition to the three that already exist to go after criminal syndicates and other fraudsters.
  • “There were also cases where guardrails were unnecessarily lowered, which led to unnecessary and massive fraud.”A congressional committee found that financial technology companies did not properly screen applicants for the giant Paycheck Protection Program.
  • Fraudulent claims for unemployment benefits overwhelmed state computer systems, which sometimes had trouble identifying the fake ones while slowing down many legitimate filings.
By GEOFF MULVIHILL Associated PressPresident Joe Bidens administration is asking Congress to agree to pay more than $1.6 billion to help clean up the mess of fraud against the massive government [+3780 chars]