Rand Paul details 'shocking' growing scandal involving federal 'scam artists' and your paycheck
Thousands of federal workers were caught stealing pandemic jobless benefits
Sen. Rand Paul is pulling the curtain back on the potentially thousands of federal employees who were caught stealing pandemic jobless benefits.
"We offer people free money, and the free money wasn't enough. They had to cheat to get more free money. So, 70,000 people so far have been caught using fake Social Security numbers. One woman in the period of 40 minutes was able to get $100,000, and hours later, she bought a ticket to Hollywood to spend $5,000 on a hotel that night. So, yeah, the scam artists are out," the Kentucky senator explained on "The Evening Edit."
"You name it, you look anywhere, people were stealing the money. And this is not uncommon. Money doesn't grow on trees, but when it appears to, here come the vultures."
In September, the DHS Office of Inspector General that found the Federal Emergency Management Agency distributed more than $3.7 billion in improper and potentially fraudulent payments through the agency's Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program.
Federal government workers are suspected of participating in the fraud. The inspector general determined that FEMA "did not implement controls to prevent" more than $2.6 million in potentially fraudulent LWA claims by DHS employees, or fraudsters who stole the identities of DHS employees. The report said 1,809 DHS employees who received LWA payments were ineligible or potentially ineligible and identified another 167 cases of suspected fraud involving the stolen identities of DHS employees.
Host Elizabeth MacDonald noted the "astounding" recklessness of the federal fraudsters, particularly five IRS workers who spent more than $1,000,000 in pandemic jobless benefits on luxury goods.
ERNST CALLS OUT FEDERAL FRAUDSTERS WHO TOOK COVID-19 UNEMPLOYMENT WHILE GETTING PAYCHECKS FROM TAXPAYERS
"Well, we ban TikTok, so they're not allowed to watch TikTok anymore," Paul said, Wednesday. "So I guess they spend their time now stealing money. Maybe we should let them go back to watching TikTok."
MacDonald also pointed out that in some cases, DHS employees reportedly used the department's own computer network to file for unemployment benefits.
Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Rand Paul are determined to hold the thieves accountable through administrative action. On Monday, Sen. Paul and Sen. Ernst sent a letter to the Inspector General of the Small Business Administration demanding for in-depth evaluation into the extent of fraud in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
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Ernst, a top Republican on the Senate Small Business Committee, called these crimes a "scheme to rip off taxpayers."
FOX Business' Chris Pandolfo contributed to this report.