Ross: Federal COVID economic relief programs reveal ‘we are a nation full of liars’

Aug 19, 2022, 12:53 PM
covid fraud...
Samuel Levine, Director, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission, testifies during a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security hearing to examine Covid-19 fraud and price gouging, in the Russell Senate Office Building on February 1, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by BILL O'LEARY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by BILL O'LEARY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

This was a New York Times headline from yesterday: “Prosecutors Struggle to Catch Up to a Tidal Wave of Pandemic Fraud.” The story was written by our favorite NYT reporter David Fahrenthold, and it’s about the people who stole possibly billions from the program designed to keep unemployed people afloat when COVID hit.

Turns out it also kept a lot of crooks afloat. No surprise to us here in Washington. Our COVID aid program ended up being targeted by a Nigerian fraud ring that managed to make off with hundreds of millions of dollars.

Ex-Nigerian official pleads guilty to pandemic relief fraud

But it wasn’t just Nigerians. Plenty of Americans did it too.

The COVID relief program revealed just how dumb it was for the government to operate on the honor system to get the money out as quickly as possible.

But it also revealed that we are a nation full of liars.

Oh, the lies on those applications! Non-existent businesses asking for small business loans. Fabricated tax documents. One guy filed dozens of phony unemployment applications and got $1.2 million in pre-paid debit cards for himself and his friends – and then posted a rap about it!

EDD stands for California’s Employment Development Department, which paid the benefits.

He rapped himself straight into jail.

But most of the investigations aren’t that easy.

The IRS may be getting 87,000 new employees – but what about the Postal Inspection Service? The Small Business Administration? The Labor Department?

The Times reports the Labor Department alone has opened 39,000 fraud investigations. The Small Business Administration has a pile of two million suspicious loan applications to check, and 50 investigators to check them.

You wonder why government programs require so many forms and documents? This is why.

No question – bureaucratic incompetence is a big problem, but the other big issue is governing a nation with so many liars.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave's Commentary

Dave Ross

Dave Ross

Ross: The key to wedding success? Eat lots of cake and make your dancing look spontaneous

Yesterday on Gee & Ursula’s “Scenarios” segment they took on a listener’s wedding dilemma. The listener is going to his brother’s wedding, and he’s bringing his girlfriend, who likes to do karaoke. Well, his brother needs a wedding singer, and the girlfriend convinced him … to let her do it. More from Dave Ross: Before fearing […]
23 hours ago
Dave Ross

Ross: Before fearing what migrants destroy, try helping them build something first

The U.S. border is swamped with hundreds of thousands of migrants who want in – and border states are fed up.
2 days ago
Dave Ross

Ross: Those who don’t learn history are doomed to accept whatever they are told

Zinn’s book failed to shake my patriotism, any more than visiting Cuba or the Soviet Union. I still see America as a unique experiment worth protecting.
3 days ago
Dave Ross

Ross: Metaverse already has its problems, from monetization to groping

2D social media isn’t immersive enough, so now we’re going to strap a fat cell phone over our eyes to join a lawless 3D cartoon universe?
4 days ago
Dave Ross

Ross: Physicist says time travel is impossible … but can’t make an absolute promise

I wanted to highlight part of an interview with a physicist about time travel since it appears mainstream media didn't pick up on it.
5 days ago
Dave Ross

Ross: It’s either middle managers or robots looking over your shoulder

If you draw a paycheck, one way or another, your office is going to make sure you deserve it.
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Ross: Federal COVID economic relief programs reveal ‘we are a nation full of liars’