In one of the largest national crackdowns on fraud targeting federal coronavirus aid, the Justice Department on Wednesday said it had brought 718 law enforcement actions in connection with the alleged theft of more than $836 million.
To save an economy in free fall, congressional Democrats and Republicans starting in 2020 adopted a series of coronavirus aid packages totaling roughly $5 trillion.
The Justice Department said Wednesday that it had filed charges or at least launched investigations related to roughly $8.6 billion in alleged coronavirus aid fraud since the start of the pandemic.
That included hundreds of new cases, pleas, sentences and other developments secured as part of an enforcement campaign it ramped up from May through July.
But lawmakers have repeatedly ignored the president’s requests for money to fight fraud, while underfunding the budgets at the Justice Department and other top federal watchdog agencies.
The lack of action has added to the pressure on the Justice Department, which commissioned a national task force to oversee coronavirus fraud investigations starting in May 2021.
The caper contributed to an estimated $191 billion in potential losses, including fraud, according to a federal projection issued this year. »