$286 million in fraudulent COVID relief funds recovered

TEXAS The Secret Service announced Friday that they have recovered $286 million in stolen COVID relief funds.

The funds were originally meant for small businesses but were siphoned off by fraudsters using thousands of stolen or fake identities. The conspirators used fake identities to create 15,000 accounts to apply for COVID relief funds at a Texas bank.

Roy Dotson, the lead pandemic fraud investigator for the Secret Service, expects the process of tracking down all the embezzled COVID relief funds to be a long one.

“This is not going to be a quick fix,” said Dotson, Secret Service National Pandemic Fraud Recovery coordinator. “As we talked about today, 15,325 accounts at one financial institution. This is one case. So you can just think of the potential number of suspects, how many investigations that could come out of those, and with all of our federal, state and local partners, working this and having the same mission.”

That bank alerted the Secret Service about the suspicious accounts, and the money was returned to the Small Business Administration.