IRS Continues Its Efforts To Combat Tax Fraud, COVID-19 Fraud, & Cryptocurrency Investment Schemes Combating…
White House Proposes $1.6 Billion To Combat Covid Aid Fraud
Last week, the White House laid out a plan to more effectively target individuals who fraudulently benefited from stolen relief funds that were distributed under the Trump and Biden administrations following Covid-19 restrictions. Among the proposals are a requested $600 million that would be used to investigate and prosecute pandemic fraud cases, with an additional $40 million that would be used to assist victims of identity theft.
Bipartisan Support Expected
Approximately $2 billion in fraudulent relief funds have been recovered to date, although some experts estimate that fraudulent claims could ultimately total over $250 billion of the $5 trillion that was distributed for Covid relief.
Gene Sperling, who is overseeing the implementation of the requested funds through the American Rescue Plan, indicated that President Biden is devoted to a concerted effort that will prosecute the individuals who stole funds. The proposal will be included in the president’s 2023 budget and is expected to be sent to Congress this week.
Although Democrats and Republicans have historically disagreed about increased spending, Sperling is optimistic that the proposal will have bipartisan support because the goal is to increase the government’s ability to recover stolen taxpayer money. Ultimately, the proposal will pay for itself with the funds that are anticipated to be recovered.
Ongoing Pandemic Relief Fund Investigations
House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chair James Comer, R-Ky., stated that the Biden administration is long overdue in their proposal and that it took Republican action to initiate the process. Comer’s office would not indicate whether he intends to support Biden’s proposal.
In addition to the funding, the White House is also proposing an increased statute of limitations to 10 years for cases of systemic pandemic fraud. This would give law enforcement and other officials the time they need to thoroughly investigate all potentially fraudulent cases and fully recover additional stolen funds. Currently, there is insufficient time and resources to investigate all cases.
President Biden’s proposal outlines $100 million each for the Small Business Administration and the Labor Department that would be used to hire long-term investigators to pursue organized pandemic relief fraud cases. Multiple experts in the field are excited about the proposal and believe it will be a significant step toward holding criminals accountable for their actions. To date, over 1000 individuals have pleaded guilty or been convicted of defrauding federal Covid relief programs. An additional 609 have been charged, with many other cases facing ongoing investigation.
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