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Secret Service recovers $286 million in Covid relief funds

  • The Secret Service recovered $286 million in Covid relief funds that were meant for small businesses.
  • Fraudsters used fake identities to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
  • Estimates of the total amount of fraudulently obtained federal, state and local Covid money start at about $100 billion.

The Covid relief funds, which were intended for small businesses but were syphoned off by criminals using thousands of stolen or fabricated identities, were recovered by the Secret Service on Friday, totaling $286 million.

The conspirators opened 15,000 accounts at Green Dot Bank, a Texas-based online institution, in an attempt to try and access the money using debit cards. The conspirators used false identities to apply for Covid relief funding known as Economic Injury Disaster Loans. When Green Dot uncovered suspect accounts, it alerted the Secret Service, and the EIDL funds were given back to the Small Business Administration, which had handled the relief funding.

At a press conference on Friday, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Roy Dotson, the head investigator for the Secret Service for Pandemic Fraud, stated that there are “There are “many actors,” “a myriad of potential suspects,” and “believes there may be both domestic and foreign coconspirators” behind the fraud.

Dotson stated that investigations are still underway and added that pandemic fraud is “one of the biggest investigations we’ve ever conducted into financial crime.

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Many precautions were disregarded as the federal and state governments rushed to spend money to keep the economy afloat. Estimates of the overall amount of federal, state, and municipal Covid relief funds gained fraudulently range from roughly $100 billion to $500 billion. According to experts, it will probably take years to fully account for the fraud’s magnitude.

Due to the fact that they were taken by foreign thieves, the vast majority of the funds are unlikely to ever be recovered, according to authorities.

According to the Secret Service, the SBA’s Office of Inspector General and the Secret Service have recovered more over $1 billion that was taken under the EIDL program.

The Secret Service is in charge of looking into financial fraud and counterfeit money in addition to guarding the American president and other prominent elected figures.

The Orlando, Florida branch office of the Secret Service opened the inquiry into the Green Dot accounts. Dotson claims that the bank alerted the Secret Service in the summer of 2020 regarding potential fraud, and that the seizures were carried out in October 2020.

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