Biden Administration Seeks $1.6 Billion to Combat COVID-19 Pandemic Fraud

COVID-19 Pandemic Fraud

Biden Administration Seeks $1.6 Billion to Combat COVID-19 Pandemic Fraud

The Biden administration has announced a strategy to combat fraud in the massive government COVID-19 pandemic relief programs (Mulvihill, 2023). As reported in MSN Money, the administration has requested Congress to approve more than $1.6 billion to help prosecute fraud cases, prevent identity theft, and assist individuals whose identities were stolen (Mulvihill, 2023).

The relief measures, which were authorized by Congress and signed by Biden and his predecessor, Donald Trump, totaled nearly $6 trillion in response to the pandemic (Mulvihill, 2023). Although many programs did enormous good, cases of fraud still took place due to guardrails being lowered, which led to unnecessary and massive fraud (Mulvihill, 2023).

The proposed plan includes $600 million for prosecution, including funds to create at least 10 new Justice Department strike forces to pursue criminal syndicates and other fraudsters (Mulvihill, 2023). In addition, the plan calls for an increase in the statute of limitations for such crimes to 10 years from the current five, giving more time to investigate and prosecute cases (Mulvihill, 2023).

Furthermore, the plan aims to provide policy changes to ensure the Labor Department inspector general’s office has ongoing access to data showing where the same identity was used to apply for benefits in multiple states (Mulvihill, 2023). This office and other inspector general offices would share at least $300 million to hire investigators (Mulvihill, 2023).

Biden is also planning to eventually issue an executive order directing federal agencies on how to take action on identity fraud, including modernizing government systems to prevent identity theft (Mulvihill, 2023). A portion of the money would go to improve a Federal Trade Commission website, IdentityTheft.gov, where people can report identity theft and get help (Mulvihill, 2023).

The proposal also notes that $1.6 billion from the American Rescue Plan — the last of the big relief measures, adopted in 2021 — will be made available by June to help states improve their anti-identity theft measures (Mulvihill, 2023).

Reference:

Mulvihill, G. (2023, March 2). Biden pushes for $1.6 billion to fund pandemic fraud measures. MSN Money. https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/smallbusiness/biden-pushes-for-16-billion-to-fund-pandemic-fraud-measures/ar-AA189VR6.


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