US Prosecutors Struggle to Catch Up to Wave of Pandemic Fraud

    Photo: The New York Times

    The Facts

    • 500 investigators across 21 US inspectors general, plus employees from the FBI, Secret Service, Postal Inspection Service, and the Internal Revenue Service are investigating pandemic unemployment and business loan fraud.

    • After roughly $5T in federal pandemic relief loans were given out between 2020 and 2021, with little to no oversight, billions of dollars have been stolen by thousands of people, including both business relief loans and personal weekly unemployment checks.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    Those who defrauded the government, and the American taxpayer, should be investigated thoroughly and punished severely. Biden extended the statute of limitations for a reason: the government needs the time and resources to investigate thousands of criminals and recover billions of dollars stolen from hard-working Americans.

    Narrative B

    During the early days of the pandemic, there was a tremendous impetus on both sides of the aisle to "get money on the street" to avoid a COVID economic meltdown. While fraud should be investigated, it needs to be put in the context that a greater focus on curbing the virus would have helped to avoid much of this economic turmoil in the first place.

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