‘Insane’: IRS admits more than $1B in COVID stimulus went to inmates across America

More than 1.1 million prisoners across America — 163,000 of whom are serving life sentences — were treated to upwards of $1.3 billion in taxpayer-funded COVID-19 stimulus checks, according to data from the Internal Revenue Service.

A letter to Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) from the IRS confirmed that the $1.3 billion does not include the recovery rebate credits that were also handed out during the pandemic, but it does reflect economic impact payments, the Washington Examiner reports.

“It’s outrageous that those who inflicted pain on a family or community by committing a crime received a single dime from the government during the pandemic,” said Bacon. “If anything, the funds should have gone to the victims who would have been better served.”

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) thinks it’s more than “outrageous” — It is “insane.”

Yes, while law-abiding citizens were locked in their homes and prohibited from running their businesses, criminals were cashing in, to the tune of roughly $1,180 each.

“When we discovered that incarcerated individuals previously received stimulus checks, an amendment was introduced to block them in the second round, and Democrats voted against it,” Bacon stated. “It’s disgusting, and Democrats who voted against the amendment should be ashamed.”

The gifts to inmates began flowing on former President Donald Trump’s watch, CNN reported. Checks were mailed to prisoners under both the CARES Act and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, both signed by Trump.

But by the time President Joe Biden and the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan came around, Bacon and a bunch of his Republican colleagues attempted to add language that would have cut the prisoners off. The effort was rejected by Democrats.

As taxpayer money was thrown around with wild abandon during the pandemic, clever crooks captured as much as $1 billion in fraudulent funds, according to the Justice Department. And those are just the grifters who have been indicted. A New York Times report states that more cases representing as much as $6 billion in fraud are still pending.

“In the midst of the pandemic, the government gave unemployment benefits to the incarcerated, the imaginary and the dead,” The Times wrote. “It sent money to ‘farms’ that turned out to be front yards. It paid people who were on the government’s ‘Do Not Pay List.’ It gave loans to 342 people who said their name was ‘N/A.'”

The number of COVID fraud cases is staggering.

“Agents in the inspector general’s office at the Labor Department have 39,000 investigations going,” The Times reports. “About 50 agents in a Small Business Administration office are sorting through two million potentially fraudulent loan applications.”

It’s so bad, President Biden actually extended the statute of limitations for some pandemic-related fraud by an additional five years, meaning charges can now be brought for a decade after the fraud was committed.

The opportunity for widespread fraud was granted by Congress, who, in their infinite wisdom and deep desire to make it rain money on a population of angry, locked-down citizens, decided to rely on the “honor system.”

“For example, an expanded unemployment benefit gave workers an extra $600 per week in federal jobless funds on top of what they received from their state,” The Times explained. “The program was funded by the federal government but administered by states, which often had loose rules around qualifying.”

“Applicants did not need to provide proof they had lost income because of Covid-19,” The Times continued, “they simply had to swear it was true.”

And that’s only the tip of the insanity.

According to The Washington Post, a Labor Department watchdog has done the math, and, of the money earmarked for COVID-19-enhanced unemployment payments alone, “at least” $163 billion may have lined the pockets of crooks.

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Melissa Fine

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