Nearly $100 billion has been stolen from COVID-19 relief programs established to help businesses and people who lost their jobs during the pandemic, the Secret Service said Tuesday.
This estimate of theft comes from Secret Service cases and data collected by the Department of Labor and the Small Business Administration, the Associated Press reported.
Roy Dotson, the national pandemic fraud recovery coordinator with the Secret Service, told the AP in an interview that the amount stolen from the total $3.4 trillion in pandemic benefits approved by Congress shows "the sheer size of the pot is enticing to the criminals."
Most of the stolen funds were taken through unemployment fraud. Statistics from the Labor Department show about $87 billion in unemployment benefits could have been paid wrongly, mostly because of fraud, the AP reported.