Half of the pandemic’s unemployment money may have been stolen – By Felix Salmon (Axios) / June 10 2021
Criminals may have stolen as much as half of the unemployment benefits the U.S. has been pumping out over the past year, some experts say.
Why it matters: Unemployment fraud during the pandemic could easily reach $400 billion, according to some estimates, and the bulk of the money likely ended in the hands of foreign crime syndicates — making this not just theft, but a matter of national security.
Catch up quick: When the pandemic hit, states weren’t prepared for the unprecedented wave of unemployment claims they were about to face.
- They all knew fraud was inevitable, but decided getting the money out to people who desperately needed it was more important than laboriously making sure all of them were genuine.
By the numbers: Blake Hall, CEO of ID.me, a service that tries to prevent this kind of fraud, tells Axios that America has lost more than $400 billion to fraudulent claims. As much as 50% of all unemployment monies might have been stolen, he says.