Forgive me for being so naïve.

When the pandemic first hit and the federal government made money available to help small businesses to stay in business and to help their employees, I didn’t think another thing of it. That’s what government does, steps up in a time of need to help.

Then when I heard that the feds were chasing fraudulent cases two years plus later I started to scratch around.

And it wasn’t just small businesses that misrepresented what they were going to use that money to do when they applied for that money in a tough time. It is so much deeper than that.

Firstly there are a small number of cases in Maine that the Department of Justice is pursuing in an effort to recover funds that were misused. Money that small businesses said would help employees and the company to ensure they'd stay in business, yet the money was spent by the company owner for something for their personal use that has nothing to do with the business.

There is also another type of fraud that is being chased down for prosecution and re-payment.

Maine U.S. Senator Susan Collins was part of the Washington D.C. group that was formed to uncover fraud by those that were fraudulent in unemployment claims.

Senator Collins said

Early in the pandemic, Congress boosted federal unemployment benefits rapidly in order to assist the growing number of Americans who lost theirf jobs during the pandemic through no fault of their own. Unfortunately, far too many criminals took advantage of these federal unemployment insurance programs, resulting in widespread fraud. The government has an obligation to taxpayers to recover as much of this stolen money as possible.

The full statement is here.

Strong words, but the amount of fraud is well into millions of dollars, so it is indeed the responsibility of our government to make it as right as they can.

Back to those small business government-issued checks. It might be amusing if it wasn’t our tax dollars being paid out to scam after scam.

Money paid to people who swore their front yards were really farms.

And a guy who applied for help 10 times and was sent 10 checks for bathroom renovations at his burrito shop.

Also, government-issued checks to incarcerated, dead or imaginary people.

No matter how the money was spent, if it was applied for fraudulently, here is hope that those who pulled these scams are prosecuted, and those tax dollars that we gave to the feds, gets back into their coffers for more appropriate use.

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