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Secret Service seizes $2 billion in fraudulent COVID unemployment payments

Federal agents estimate that sorting out the fraud will take them "another year or two."

Updated: May 14, 2021 - 12:23pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook


The Secret Service has confiscated and returned to states about $2 billion in stolen COVID-19 unemployment relief funds.

Agency officials said Wednesday the money was returned to at least 30 states after determining recipients fraudulently applied for pandemic-related unemployment money over the past year, according to a statement.

Roy Dotson, a Secret Service assistant special agent, said the agency deals with this type of fraud annually but acknowledged the pandemic made the situation worse, according to CNBC News.

Dotson said fraudsters typically stole the identities of people who qualified for unemployment benefits and, in some cases, stole identities from people who hadn't even filed for unemployment.

He estimated it would take "another year or two" to sort out the fraud.

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