Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Watchdog Agency Increases Its Pandemic Unemployment Benefits Fraud Estimate to as Much as $135 Billion; NY Nurse Guilty in $1.5M COVID Vaccine Scam Blames ‘government mandates’, and other C-Virus related stories

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Watchdog agency increases its pandemic unemployment benefits fraud estimate to as much as $135 billion:
As much as $135 billion in fraudulent Covid-19 pandemic unemployment insurance claims were likely paid out, according to a report released Tuesday by the US Government Accountability Office.
The whopping figure, which equates to as much as 15% of total unemployment benefits distributed during the pandemic, is a notable bump up from the $60 billion the watchdog agency had previously estimated in January.
In comments on a draft of the GAO report, the Department of Labor said the office is likely overestimating the actual amount of fraud. However, the department’s Office of Inspector General in February said in testimony before a House committee that at least $191 billion in pandemic unemployment benefits payments could have been improper, with “a significant portion attributable to fraud.”
The GAO pushed back on the department’s assertions in its report and stood by the methodology used.
“Given that not all potential fraud will be investigated and adjudicated through judicial or other systems, the full extent of UI fraud during the pandemic will likely never be known with certainty,” the GAO report said. “Therefore, it is appropriate to rely on estimates, such as ours, to make more comprehensive conclusions about the extent of fraud in the UI programs during the pandemic.” --->READ MORE HERE
NY nurse guilty in $1.5M COVID vaccine scam blames ‘government mandates’:
A Long Island nurse who raked in $1.5 million selling fake vaccine cards during the COVID-19 pandemic pleaded guilty on Friday to forgery and money laundering.
Julie DeVuono, 51, is expected to avoid jail, but must forfeit $1.2 million in criminal proceeds, do 840 hours of community service, surrender her license to practice, and shut down her pediatric business, Kids-on-Call.
“This defendant used her position as a nurse practitioner to circumvent the law by uploading false information into New York state-wide databases,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney.
“The defendant’s abuse of authority preyed upon the fears and mistrust of the public during the COVID shutdown to forge COVID cards for the vaccine she never administered, in pursuit of no other purpose than her own enrichment.”
DeVuono’s guilty plea comes after two co-defendants originally charged in the scheme, Marissa Urraro, a licensed practical nurse, and receptionist Brooke Hogan reached a secret agreement to testify against their ex-boss, The Post learned.
Tierney’s spokesmen would not discuss their cases, which are sealed.
DeVuono’s Wild Child Pediatric Center in Amityville received free shipments of 3,174 vaccine doses through the federal CDC.
Employees charged customers $220 to $350 for each dose falsely marked on a vax card for adults — and $85 for kids — then tossed the vaccine in the trash. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to relevant/related stories and resources:

Why officials aren't calling this year's new COVID shots "boosters"

COVID Cases Update: 5 Worst Hit States See Positive Tests Fall, Others Rise

USA TODAY: Coronavirus Updates

WSJ: Coronavirus Live Updates

YAHOO NEWS: Coronavirus Live Updates

NEW YORK POST: Coronavirus The Latest

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