Monday, July 18, 2022

Ex-Mayor in Georgia Gets Nearly 5 Years in Prison for Defrauding City's COVID Relief Funds; Unemployment scammers collected $550 million since start of pandemic, audit estimates, and other C-Virus related stories

Ex-mayor in Georgia gets nearly 5 years in prison for defrauding city's COVID relief funds:
Federal officials sentenced the former mayor of a Georgia city to almost five years in prison Wednesday on charges that he used pandemic relief funds to pay multiple personal expenses, including his lakefront home’s mortgage and an associate’s political advertising costs.
Jason Lary – the first mayor of Stonecrest, a small city of about 60,000 people east of Atlanta founded through a 2016 DeKalb County ballot initiative – pleaded guilty in January to wire fraud, stealing federal program money and conspiracy, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia.
“Lary betrayed the trust placed in him by the citizens of Stonecrest by stealing the very funds meant to help his constituents weather the COVID-19 pandemic,” U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan said in the release. “The people of Stonecrest deserved better, and corrupt officials can expect severe consequences for using their offices to commit crimes.”
The stolen funds came from the CARES Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in March 2020. DeKalb County distributed a $6.2 million grant to Stonecrest, which could be used to finance public health expenses and small business aid. --->READ MORE HERE
Unemployment scammers collected $550 million since start of pandemic, audit estimates:
The amount of money Rhode Island officials believe has been stolen through fraudulent unemployment insurance claims since the start of the COVID pandemic keeps rising.
An audit of the state's finances released by Auditor General Dennis Hoyle on Tuesday said that while the Department of Labor and Training estimates $98 million in fraudulent claims were paid out as of last year, the total is probably closer to $550 million.
The Labor Department's "internal control procedures were not sufficiently effective to ensure that unemployment benefit payments were made only to eligible individuals," said the audit for the year ending June 30, 2021.
The federal government responded to business closures forced by the pandemic with supplemental jobless benefits that attracted a high level of fraud in states across the country. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to relevant/related stories and resources:

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USA TODAY: Coronavirus Updates

WSJ: Coronavirus Live Updates

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NEW YORK POST: Coronavirus The Latest

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