More than 1,000 people were charged for fraud in unemployment aid since the beginning of the pandemic in the US and the authorities detected $45.6 billion in potentially fraudulent benefits, the Labor Department supervisor announced Thursday.
The alert from the Inspector General of the Labor portfolio indicates that this money would have been delivered to individuals with social security number registered in multiple states of the country, people already deceasedrequested from suspicious email accounts or federal prisoners.
The indictment of 1,000 people and the potential multi-million dollar fraud “underlines the magnitude of this problem”, Inspector General Larry Turner said in a statement.
In the first five months since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, more than 57 million people signed up in the United States to the unemployment assistance program, a joint federal and state initiative that constitutes the first line of action against the impact of the lack of employment.
According to the note, the injection of billions of dollars that this program received from federal funds in the midst of the epidemic gave individuals and organized criminal groups a high-level goal.
Since the start of the pandemic, US authorities have opened more than 190,000 investigations for potential fraud in these aids, a figure more than 1,000 times higher than the usual volume.
Of the 1,000 people who have already been charged with fraud, to date they have been sentenced to “more than 400”, added the statement, according to which these sentences add up to more than 7,000 months in prison in total.