2 Billion Reasons Why Stimulus Funds Might’ve Been a Bad Idea
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has closed 660 criminal cases stemming from various federal COVID-era stimulus funds, uncovering more than $1.8 billion in fraud.
“These cases included a broad range of criminal activity, including fraudulently obtained loans, credits and payments meant for American workers, families, and small businesses,” the IRS Criminal Investigation division said.
The bulk of the cases involve wire fraud, wherein people falsified information about their business or financial situation to obtain government funds.
For instance, one CEO of a defunct nonprofit organization pleaded guilty to lying about having 25 employees and payroll costs exceeding $120,000. The Paycheck Protection Program provided him more than $300,000, deposited directly into his personal account.
“In reality, [the nonprofit] had no employees or payroll expenses,” the IRS said.
The federal government has committed to pay $4.2 trillion in pandemic response, roughly 20% of U.S. gross domestic product.