If a few billion dollars are swept away by bandits, or chewed into confetti by squirrels, or blown into the nearest river, after a brief chastened look, the Democrats always come back with, “Hey, we think we’ve got a new solution: spend even more money! Their latest idea is to make $1.9 trillion (not $2 trillion – they’re not crazy or anything) on another COVID relief program.
However, they have already appropriated some $6 trillion to fight COVID. That’s more than we spent fighting World War II, which cost about $4.1 trillion in inflation-adjusted dollars. Unlike the 1940s, however, we quite clearly lost WWII. COVID has killed many more people than Hitler and Hirohito, and unlike the Third Reich, it will never go away. So while we get used to the Forever Virus, we might as well stop for a second and ask ourselves: what did all this spending buy us?
So far, $100 billion has been stolen, “resulting in the arrest of more than 100 suspects ranging from individuals to organized groups,” according to a CNBC report. Don’t worry, though, the feds are on the case, and so far they’ve recovered. . . $2.3 billion.
So it’s settled, except for the 97.7% missing, and of course all the stolen billions of which we don’t know what yet.
The general urge to “help people” has also created many opportunities for more subtle forms of fraud. Marilyn Mosby, the state’s attorney in Baltimore, is accused of falsely claiming COVID difficulties to make an early withdrawal of $90,000 from her pension fund to make down payments on two vacation homes in Florida . Mosby earns $248,000 a year.
Since the media isn’t very interested in stories that make Democrats look bad, you’ll have to dig deep to find the alarming truth about the amount of robbery that’s going on in the era of ‘Rona. A novelist who really took the measure of America this year could write an incredibly funny comic novel about the whole scam: Catch ’22. Law firm Arnold & Porter compiles the details into a database called the CARES Act Fraud Tracker, and each entry looks like a juicy story suited for splashy treatment in Vanity Fair.
An entry notes that “Apocalypse Bella, Mackenzy Toussaint and Amos Munendi have been charged with allegedly submitting fraudulent PPP loan applications for approximately $14 million”. Apocalypse Bella! Kevin Hart, Call Your Agent: Don’t you like the idea of playing someone named Apocalypse Bella? Another entry states that a college football player named Abdul-Malik McClain used the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program to allegedly bundle bogus claims from other players, taking a cut when the checks arrived. Charmaine Redding, meanwhile, allegedly recovered $11.1 million in fraudulent paycheck Protection Program Loans, which she used “to purchase luxury vehicles, jewelry and other personal items.”
Since the first wave of the horror virus passed about a year and a half ago, Washington has showered the country with so much money that the 20s brought as much bling as it did sting. Real human suffering has been accompanied by waves of spending. There’s a reason you see your neighbors remodeling their homes and filling their driveways with BMWs. According to an analysis by the Heritage Foundation, 40% of pandemic unemployment benefits – $357 billion in total – went to people who were not actually unemployed.
The part of the COVID aid that actually worked incredibly well – Operation Warp Speed - cost a pittance, a mere $18 billion. As for the rest? What looks like the greatest robbery of public funds in our history is well underway.
Law firm Arnold & Porter maintains an online database of suspected COVID-19 fraud. Here are some of the cases he lists:
Baby Blue”, aka “Diamond Blue Smith
A member of the music group Pretty Ricky who appears on ‘Love & Hip Hop Miami,’ has pleaded guilty to participating in a scheme to file at least 79 fraudulent loan applications asking for more than $24 million in forgivable PPP loans. Smith used the loan proceeds to make “luxury purchases,” including a Ferrari for $96,000. “My mistakes don’t define me as a man, and I’ll get through them more than before,” he said.
The incredibly named “Apocalypse Bella” (aka Dias Yumba), along with Mackenzy Toussaint and Amos Munendi, have been accused of submitting fraudulent PPP loan applications for $14 million. He has an Instagram account named Apocalypse Bella Foundation, which describes his mission as helping “people facing socio-economic challenges to pursue their education in institutions of higher learning.”
April Falgoust pleaded guilty to creating five fraudulent apps on behalf of the following companies: La Fitness & Tan LLC, FalgouStrong Fitness LLC, Boss Lady Suits, Forever the Baddest Makeup and Hemphire Seed & Nutrients. She “grossly misrepresented” the number of people she employed and what she earned, and raised $500,000 in relief. She was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Aticha Jittaphol filed applications for Mantra Dhevi Spa in Brighton, Massachusetts, and certified that the company was not engaged in illegal activities despite knowing that it engaged in illegal prostitution, according to federal prosecutors . The U.S. Attorney said, “Jittaphol also actively promoted prostitution by recruiting employees and attracting new customers.”
Jason Lary, the first-ever mayor of Stonecrest, Georgia (a city incorporated in 2016 with a population of 59,000), reportedly used some of the $6.2 million the city received in COVID relief to pay its own taxes and mortgages. .
Christophe Paul Lic
Christopher Paul Lic of Starkville, Mississippi, received more than $6 million in COVID relief for the candle companies he owned, but he reportedly spent the money on a $1 million house, a Tesla of one worth $100,000 and stock market investments. He faces up to 30 years in prison on 16 federal charges.
Reginald Thornto, an inmate at Bare Hill Correctional Facility in Malone, NY, reportedly worked with Briana Garland of Uniondale, NY, to receive $30,000 in COVID relief – despite inmates not being eligible .
Kelli Prather claimed to own six businesses – Enhanced Healthcare Solutions, Life Skills Enhancement, Prather Property Management, Reliable Ambulette Services, Rich Glo Management Services and Tots R Us – and was asking for more than $600,000 in aid. She reportedly used the money for DoorDash, Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, Kay Jewelers, vacation activities, liposuction and body contouring.
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby has been indicted for perjury. Prosecutors allege she requested a $40,000 withdrawal from her municipal retirement account in May 2020, citing financial hardship due to the pandemic. But that year, his salary was $248,000. She used the money as a down payment for a rental property in Florida.
Elvin German of the Bronx allegedly used the identities of 254 ignorant people to receive more than $1.4 million in COVID aid. Federal authorities said they discovered it because it used the same IP address and the same security question and answer for every app. It would be the name of his family dog, Benji. He allegedly spent the money, among other things, on a Louis Vuitton wallet and fanny pack.