Fraudsters Go Where the (Covid-19) Money Is

Last June eight guys in Brooklyn put their heads together, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, and came up with a scheme to steal stranger’s identities and take what didn’t belong to them.

Just a couple months before that – in the earliest days of the Covid-19 scare – Congress passed a $2.2 trillion bill called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The CARES money was supposed to go to the millions of isolated Americans who had their paychecks interrupted during the pandemic.

The mooks in Brooklyn had other plans.

Just one of the defendants charged with fraudulently stealing some $2 million from Covid emergency funds - photo courtesy:  U.S. Dept. of Justice
Brooklyn’s Carlos Vasquez Flashes Cash

This gang of eight, ranging in age from 18 to 25, submitted some $2 million worth of fake unemployment claims for CARES Act assistance. And they got away with it for nearly a year, according to the feds. Several of these criminals stupidly posted online photos of themselves flashing stacks of money. Others were caught on ATM cameras withdrawing their free cash. Busted!

The more Uncle Sam giveth the more criminals taketh away. And it wasn’t just the Brooklyn gang. Besides extra money for bigger unemployment checks Congress allocated nearly $350 billion for Small Business Administration loans to be doled out by vendors at some 3,800 financial institutions.

Now we find out that just one of those lenders, an online firm called Kabbage, okayed more than $7 million to go to fake companies, mostly non-existent farms. Speed in disbursement was the name of the game and apparently vetting applications was lax. Many entities seeking loans from Kabbage seemed fishy. Farms and cattle ranches on a New Jersey sandbar? An orange grove in Minnesota? A potato field in ritzy Palm Beach, Florida? All were phony-baloney.

photo: Kabbage newsroom
Kabbage Was Just One Lender That Was Duped by Fraudsters

The SBA’s inspector general now estimates that close to 100,000 loans went to businesses that were ineligible or got more cash than they should have. By late March 2021 the DOJ had brought criminal fraud charges against 474 people who sought to rake in a collective $570 million.

It’s great that the feds caught up with these cheaters but there must have been a better way to administer this program from the get-go, right? Simply relying on after-the-fact prosecution is like trying to chase the horse after it bolts through the open barn door.

An acquaintance tells me he was expecting a small relief payment on a debit card, but it never arrived. His wife called to trace it, but the automated system required her to punch in the number on the card – which, again, they never received. A typical government Catch-22. They ultimately gave up and are still wondering who got their $318.00 debit card.

Photo credit: U.S. Treasury Dept.
Too Many of These Are Going to Criminals!

The point is, there has been so much money flowing out of the U.S. Treasury over the last year the task of keeping track of all of it seems futile. Trillions of dollars in aid have either already been approved by Congress, trillions more are under consideration.

This isn’t monopoly money, folks. And according to the Wall Street Journal billions of dollars already pumped into the U.S. economy are still sitting there. Between the CARES Act and the companion American Rescue Plan Act more than $32 billion earmarked just for pandemic-ravaged hospitals remains unspent. They can’t spend their money fast enough to make the June 30th deadline, so hospitals are seeking an extension.

The Rescue Plan also allocated a windfall $350 billion for states to help spur a post-pandemic recovery. Some states will be swimming in surplus dough, but who in Washington will be checking to see if the lengthy spending rules for that money are actually being followed? Let’s hope the supervision is better than what occurred with the Kabbage loans.

It’s time to remember the reported words of notorious criminal Willie Sutton. When asked why he robbed banks he is said to have answered, “Because that’s where the money is!”

Photo courtesy of
Sutton Robbed Banks -Today, Criminals Rob Taxpayers

Whether Sutton actually uttered those words is in dispute, but this is a certainty: the criminal element will flock to wherever there is an abundance of cash and lax oversight. Today, money is being printed and flowing out of the US Treasury at a ferocious pace. Calculating criminals are making plans.

When the US government isn’t diligent taxpayers lose. It is abundantly clear conscientious oversight is not being practiced. I say no more money bills until that changes.



  1. Diane Dimond on May 31, 2021 at 2:35 pm

    Cory D writes:

    The oversight will never change, there is no incentive to get it right.
    Unless there is a balanced budget amendment, this will never change.
    Honestly, the best candidate you can vote for is one who wants to increase govt spending by 0 dollars.
    The feds can’t implement or enforce anything without lots of money.
    It’s that simple.
    States can’t print money so they either balance budgets or lie about them.
    Leading to responsibility, accountability.

  2. Diane Dimond on May 31, 2021 at 2:35 pm

    GOP Strong writes:

    Hasn’t the “Drug War” verified Federal Government incompetence?

    Trust the same Government to distribute $2.2 T ?

  3. Diane Dimond on May 31, 2021 at 2:36 pm

    William Harvie writes:

    The federal government gives away so much money that it’s impossible to monitor and control
    these scams.
    The federal government is too big to succeed.

  4. Diane Dimond on May 31, 2021 at 2:36 pm

    Linda Lee writes:

    I donated the $2800 “stimulus” taxpayer money that I received for myself and my young grandson to a couple who are missionaries in Africa. Their missionary services include building churches in African villages, a church can be built for $7500. I receive a retirement check each month and my grandson, for whom I am guardian, receives a Social Security check. Our income was not changed one whit due to the CCP pandemic and it made absolutely no sense that we should receive this fund. I know that this young couple will use this donation for far greater God impact for eternal lives of the African people than I would have used it.

  5. Diane Dimond on May 31, 2021 at 2:36 pm

    Old Dog writes:

    In 1970, I lied about my age as a high school freshman to work in a factory making vacuum cleaner wheels 8 hours a shift ($1.35 ph). Helped my parents pay for tuition to a parochial school as the public school had race riots all the time. Four years in the Marines, next 36 with the same company, now retired. I’d do it again in a heart beat.

  6. Diane Dimond on May 31, 2021 at 2:37 pm

    Steveskinnersd writes:

    In California approximately $20 billion in unemployment checks were fraudulently issued.

    $20 BILLION.


    • Diane Dimond on May 31, 2021 at 2:37 pm

      Be Heard replies:


      We fled California last fall due to Newsom tyranny and corruption

      • Diane Dimond on May 31, 2021 at 2:38 pm

        Fixemup replies:

        How much of that ended up back in Newsom’s pocket? He couldn’t pay his property tax on his multimillion dollar second home pre-Covid but six months in was able to pay them off? Maybe the billion dollars he sent to China for masks that were never received?

  7. Diane Dimond on May 31, 2021 at 2:38 pm

    Poor Richard writes:

    This kind of thing is nothing new. If you’re interested in knowing about how other established government feeding troughs are exploited go to open the

    • Diane Dimond on May 31, 2021 at 2:39 pm

      Diane Dimond replies:

      You’re right. Wasted government money is not new — but I wonder how long will it be — how much wasted money will it take before taxpayers feel compelled to scream and yell about it — and demand accountability?

      BTW, I am very familiar with They do great work uncovering where our tax dollars really go. If you’re looking for a place to donate to help make government more accountable I’d suggest donating to! ~ DD

  8. Diane Dimond on May 31, 2021 at 2:40 pm

    gregstocks2005 writes:

    This is a good article. But shouldn’t there be something in there about the thieves in the white house. How many of these folks have gotten rich off covid?

    • Diane Dimond on May 31, 2021 at 2:40 pm

      Diane Dimond replies:

      Give me some concrete evidence of this and I will follow up. ~DD

  9. Diane Dimond on May 31, 2021 at 2:40 pm

    Steven Hall writes:

    The commoners cannot steal from the taxpayers.
    Only the elites may do that.

    • Diane Dimond on May 31, 2021 at 2:41 pm

      Diane Dimond replies:

      Well, Mr. Hall…the Brooklyn gang certainly wasn’t part of the “elite”….and the individuals who pretended to be running small farms weren’t from the “elite”. One woman filed 300 separate claims for gov’t checks! She wasn’t part of the “elite” either. These are American citizens with larceny on their minds. ~ DD

  10. Diane Dimond on May 31, 2021 at 2:41 pm

    Press on. . . writes:

    And now that people are on the government tit they don’t want to work.
    That’s a fine how do you do?
    Government paying people not to work, ah’ la future votes.
    How corrupt is that in plain sight for all to see. Evidence is, we went out to eat 3 miles from Kentucky Lake Dam Village, at a catfish farm restaurant.
    There were about 25 cars, seating capacity for 60, one person (the owner) checking people in and she was the only waitress as well, and only one cook was her husband.
    She had to turn people away.
    She said she can’t get help to come to work.
    An older person waiting in line next to me said, “see what Biden and Pelosi have done with their stimulus free money, people don’t have to work or want to work now.” “They are destroying our way of life with their communism.”

    • Diane Dimond on May 31, 2021 at 2:41 pm

      patriotgirl1 writes:

      …I loved working and was always thankful for a job. I just retired after 23 years at one job. Hard work is what made America…really unfortunate.

  11. Diane Dimond on June 1, 2021 at 1:07 pm

    Frank Valente writes:

    Investigate and prosecute

  12. Diane Dimond on June 1, 2021 at 1:08 pm

    Don Anger writes:

    It’s just one thing after another.

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