Monday, September 19, 2022

‘Careless’: Federal Government May Have Accidentally Sent $1.3 Billion in COVID-19 Relief to People in Foreign Countries, Inspector General Says; Audit: Foreign fraudsters broke feds’ firewall to steal billions in pandemic loans, and other C-Virus related stories

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‘Careless’: Federal Government May Have Accidentally Sent $1.3 Billion in COVID-19 Relief to People in Foreign Countries, Inspector General Says:
The Small Business Administration may have inadvertently sent over $1 billion in COVID-19 relief to individuals in foreign countries, a government watchdog said in a Monday report.
SBA handed struggling small businesses and nonprofits up to $2 million in loans each through the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans program as well as grants and advances. But the agency did not properly detect certain foreign IP address applicants, including those in “high risk” countries and may have given them up to $1.3 billion in funding, according to a SBA inspector general report.
Some Americans and aliens who live in foreign countries may have qualified for Economic Injury Disaster Loans relief if they “meet certain eligibility requirements,” the report said, not explaining what those requirements were. The risk of fraud in the program was elevated “because of the history of fraud originating from transnational crime organizations that have stolen funds from U.S programs in the past,” said the report.
“The federal government’s response to COVID was panicked and not thought out,” E.J. Antoni, an economics fellow at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The careless, shotgun approach to disbursing unneeded aid was an invitation for fraud, both at home and abroad.”
The Economic Injury Disaster Loans program was launched during the Trump administration and was first authorized by the passage of the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act in March 2020, the report says. It was reauthorized in two other coronavirus relief packages, including the American Rescue Plan signed by President Joe Biden, the report says. --->READ MORE HERE
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File
Foreign fraudsters broke feds’ firewall to steal billions in pandemic loans: Audit:
Foreign criminal syndicates are estimated to have stolen tens of billions of dollars in pandemic relief money, and an inspector general’s report is shedding light on how some of that happened.
The Small Business Administration’s watchdog says the agency tried to block foreign applications to its Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), one of two major programs activated to prop up businesses during the early COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns.
Still, thousands of applications filed from foreign Internet Protocol addresses got through the SBA’s firewall. As a result, the agency doled out about $1.3 billion in payments that the inspector general deemed at severe risk of being fraudulent.
Filing from overseas isn’t an automatic signal of fraud or illegality, but it is a red flag, the Office of the Inspector General said.
“The numerous applications submitted from foreign IP addresses are an indication of potential fraud that may involve international criminal organizations,” the inspector general said in announcing the investigation Monday evening. “OIG has ongoing investigations into international organized crime operations that applied for and stole pandemic relief funds.”
The audit didn’t expand on those investigations, but overseas criminal syndicates have been identified in massive amounts of fraud related to U.S. pandemic spending. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to relevant/related stories and resources:

Coronavirus Watch: COVID telehealth fraud cost Medicare $128M in first year

Senior COVID survivors could be 80% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s: study

USA TODAY: Coronavirus Updates

WSJ: Coronavirus Live Updates

YAHOO NEWS: Coronavirus Live Updates

NEW YORK POST: Coronavirus The Latest

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