Tuesday, November 29, 2022

COVID Fraudsters Netted Over $400M in Stolen Aid in NY. What They Spent It On; Massachusetts DPH, Google ‘secretly’ Installed COVID ‘spyware’ Onto 1M Phones, Lawsuit Says, and other C-Virus related stories

Department of Justice
COVID fraudsters netted over $400M in stolen aid in NY. What they spent it on:
As pandemic-ravaged New Yorkers lined up at food pantries, one Manhattan fraudster used stolen coronavirus relief funds for an $89,000 hotel stay in Florida, blowing $63,000 on room service and dining out.
Another New York schemer used $4 million in bogus coronavirus loans to buy, in part, a motel on a world-class trout fishing lake in Missouri and a European-style castle in New Jersey. Other thieves used COVID-19 aid to buy at least 14 luxury vehicles, including Bentleys, a Rolls Royce and a Ferrari, court records show.
Those are among the findings of the USA TODAY Network investigation of fraud and government waste linked to the COVID-19 pandemic response in New York.
The monthslong probe revealed at least $400 million in taxpayer-supported coronavirus aid and unemployment benefits intended for New Yorkers was stolen.
While authorities raced to claw back as many of the tax dollars and ill-gotten luxury goods as possible, experts and records suggested it represented just a slice of the true coronavirus fraud toll in New York, which is expected to cost billions of dollars.
Despite government watchdogs raising concerns that billions of dollars in COVID-19 fraud could go unpunished, top federal prosecutors in New York asserted efforts to catch fraudsters are gaining momentum.
“To the extent that the criminals get better doing this, we get better, too,” Carla Freedman, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York, said. --->READ MORE HERE
AP file photo
Massachusetts DPH, Google ‘secretly’ installed COVID ‘spyware’ onto 1M phones, lawsuit says:
Civil rights group says ‘Android attack’ mirrors ‘dystopian science fiction’
The state Department of Public Health was accused of working with Google to “secretly” install COVID-19 contact tracing “spyware” onto more than 1 million Android smartphones.
The New Civil Liberties Alliance, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, filed a lawsuit this week in U.S. District Court on behalf of two Bay State Android users, who allege that a DPH contact tracing app was downloaded onto their phones on or around July 1, 2021, without their “permission or awareness.”
“Conspiring with a private company to hijack residents’ smartphones without the owners’ knowledge or consent is not a tool that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health may lawfully employ in its efforts to combat COVID-19,” the complaint stated.
“Such brazen disregard for civil liberties violates both the United States and Massachusetts Constitutions, and it must stop now.”
A DPH spokesperson declined comment, stating the department has not received any documentation related to the lawsuit, and “does not comment on pending litigation.”
The complaint alleges that DPH began working with Google on June 15, 2021, to install the app onto more than 1 million Android phones located in the Bay State, impacting people who live or work there.
This was allegedly done to “increase adoption” because “few Massachusetts residents voluntarily installed” the software. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to relevant/related stories and resources:

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USA TODAY: Coronavirus Updates

WSJ: Coronavirus Live Updates

YAHOO NEWS: Coronavirus Live Updates

NEW YORK POST: Coronavirus The Latest

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