Credit…Eve Edelheit for The New York Times
In the midst of the pandemic, the government gave unemployment benefits to the incarcerated, the imaginary and the dead. It sent money to “farms” that turned out to be front yards. It paid people who were on the government’s “Do Not Pay List.” It gave loans to 342 people who said their name was “N/A.”
The federal government provided about $5 trillion in relief money in three separate legislative packages. The result: “one of the largest frauds in American history.”
In one instance, 29 states paid unemployment benefits to the same person. In another, a Postal Service employee got an $82,900 loan for a business called “U.S. Postal Services.” Another individual got 10 loans for 10 nonexistent bathroom-renovation businesses, using the email address of a burrito shop.