More than $8 billion in aid for those affected by the pandemic was siphoned off through various types of fraud, the Justice Department from the United States.
According to the entity, some 1,000 people are investigated criminally and 1,800 people or organizations are civilly investigated for these scams of a vertiginous amount.
He also announced the appointment of Prosecutor Kevin Chambers as director of an office dedicated to combating these frauds, in accordance with a promise made by Joe Biden during a speech in Congress on March 1.
“Under my administration, the safeguards are back: We will go after the criminals who steal billions of dollars in aid from small businesses and millions of Americans,” Biden warned.
Since March 2020, more than $5 billion in aid has been unlocked in the United States for those affected by the pandemic.
Most of the detected abuses point to the Salary Preservation Program (PPE), a device of loans for small and medium-sized companies, which become aid if they manage to keep jobs.
In less serious cases, employers were identified who lied about the personnel they hired to ask for amounts higher than those they were entitled to. But criminal networks were also organized to create shell companies, according to authorities.
Hundreds of people were also charged with defrauding the aid created for those who lost their jobs due to the pandemic. As well as criminal networks, some of them based abroad.