While businesses were trying to stay float and millions of unemployed people were doing kitchen table math just to pay their bills, states across the country were busying shucking out tax-funded COVID payments to some 200,000 dead folks and other fraudsters to the tune of tens of billions of dollars.
According to a new inspector general’s report over at the Department of Labor, states forked over billions in fraudulent payments to about 200,000 applicants who were already dead, according to their social security numbers.
The report adds that another million or so payments totaling billions of dollars were made to applicants who used the same social security number to file unemployment applications in multiple states, while yet another 1.7 million payments were made to applicants with “suspicious email addresses.”
All in all, those potentially – and likely – fraudulent payments totaled more than $45 billion, nearly three times previous estimates.
And while the government continues to target known fraud stemming from COVID unemployment and other assistance programs, it's unlikely that they'll ever get to the bottom of this particular boondoggle. Just last week, the Justice Department criminally charged 47 people with Minnesota’s Somali community with fraudulently collecting $250 million in COVID cash meant to feed at-risk children.
Because when the government shuts down the entire economy overnight and throws gobs of cash to keep people from starving, what could possibly go wrong?