In June, eight Brooklyn men met in their heads, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, and devised a plan to steal strangers ’acquaintances and take away theirs.
Just a few months before it – in the earliest days of COVID-19 scare – Congress passed a $ 2.2 trillion bill called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The money would have gone to the millions of remote Americans whose wages were disrupted during the pandemic.
The Brooklyn Weeds have other plans.
The gang of eight, ranging in age from 18 to 25, submitted some $ 2 million worth of fake unemployed people for CARES Act assistance. And they got it for almost a year, according to the feds. Many foolish criminals post photos online of themselves flashing stacks of money. Some were caught with ATM cameras withdrawing their free money. Busted!
If Uncle Sam gave a lot, a lot of criminals took it.
And that’s not just the Brooklyn gang. In addition to additional money for more unemployment checks, Congress has allocated nearly $ 350 billion for Small Business Administration loans to be sold to vendors at about 3,800 financial institutions.
Now we know that only one of the lenders, an online firm called Kabbage, OK more than $ 7 million to go to fake companies, mostly farmless. Speed of payment is the name of the game, and obviously, it’s not good to review applications. Many entities seeking loans from Kabbage are as slimy. Farming and cattle ranching in a New Jersey sandbar? An orange grove in Minnesota? A potato farm in ritzy Palm Beach, Florida? All phony-balloons.
The SBA inspector general now estimates that nearly 100,000 loans have gone to businesses that don’t qualify or get more money than they should have. After March 2021, the DOJ brought criminal fraud charges against 474 people seeking to collect $ 570 million.
It’s great that feeds catch the cheats, but there has to be a better way to manage this program from the start, right? Just relying on human-the-fact prosecution is like trying to chase a horse after going through the open barn door.
An acquaintance told me he was expecting a small fee to help with a debit card but it never came. His wife called to track it down, but the automated system required him to punch in the card number – which, again, they never received. A typical Catch-22 government. Later they gave up and still wondered who got their $ 318 debit card. – READ MORE
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