Apparently, getting a coronavirus stimulus payment was so easy, even a dead person could do it 💀 IRS investigators discovered a staggering $1.8 billion-ish in fraudulent activity related to COVID-19 relief efforts 😱
Fraud cases included a number of different clever schemes. A large portion of those scams centered around money given out for small business assistance and many culprits were just straight up lying about how many people worked at their small business in order to rake in the extra dough.
Here's Five Fast Facts on the findings:
1. 👻You're dead to me. The probe found that 26,468 payments were made to dead people.
2. 🙆💸Who's down with PPP? One family in California submitted 150 fraudulent Paycheck Protection Plan applications based on phony payroll records. They received over $20 million in small business relief and allegedly spent it on high-end designer goods and luxury homes #ballin.
3. 🕑Still waiting. Investigators discovered that 644,705 people who were eligible for stimulus payments didn't receive them. The total of these missed payments amounts to a whopping $1.6 billion.
4.👪 Super dependable. An estimated $856 million (544,323 payments) went to claimed dependents on tax returns.
5. 🔎Can we fix it? The White House created a stimulus fraud task force way back in May 2021. However, the IRS Criminal Investigation division is understaffed, with reports that they've lost 25% of their workforce over the last ten years. So, we might not get the full picture for a long time.
🔥Bottom line: $1.8 billion is a heck of a lot of cash to be in the wrong hands. Investigations into fraudulent claims are still ongoing, but staffing shortages are making things difficult. Long-term funding and resources will be needed to keep catching the bad guys.
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