Covid: Worst Enabler of Fraud In History?

Fraud in government programs is so routine that one wonders how much anyone still cares. Kyle Smith has done some research on this topic, as it relates to purported covid funding. As he notes, it takes considerable digging because “the media aren’t terribly interested in stories that reflect badly on Democrats.”

[Congress has] already appropriated some $6 trillion in fighting COVID, though. That’s more than we spent fighting WWII, which cost about $4.1 trillion in inflation-adjusted dollars. … So while we’re getting used to the Forever Virus, we might as well pause for a sec and wonder: What the heck did all that spending buy us?

So far, $100 billion of it has been straight-up stolen, “resulting in the arrest of more than 100 suspects who span the spectrum 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.

My guess is that the criminality that has been discovered and publicized is a small slice of what has actually occurred. Interestingly, Kyle Smith relies in part on a covid fraud database maintained by the Washington law firm Arnold & Porter. Last I knew, Arnold & Porter was one of the top two or three firms in Washington, D.C., and I am pleasantly surprised that an establishment law firm would publicly oppose fraud in government programs. That is a bold stance for an establishment firm to take.

Here in Minnesota, we have done our part to contribute to the cavalcade of covid fraud:

On Thursday, some 200 law enforcement officers raided the offices of the St. Anthony, Minnesota-based nonprofit Feeding Our Future and related organizations at more than a dozen locations.

Records available through the state Department of Education reveal that the Feeding nonprofit has received $245 million in Federal money, ostensibly to fund meals for children.
The FBI alleges that little of the money reached the mouths of children. Instead, they allege, the money was diverted for the personal use of a handful of people involved in the scheme.

The linked article points out that the two nonprofits involved in this fraud–the second was called Partners in Nutrition–purported to be feeding 1/8 of all of the children in Minnesota, a ridiculous claim. Over a year ago, Minnesota’s Department of Education realized that Feeding Our Future was a criminal organization and cut off its funding, but a state court judge ordered Minnesota’s state government to continue funding the fraud.

The Sahan Journal has a detailed article on this fraud. Sahan is a Somali news outlet, and the Feeding Our Future fraud was perpetrated mostly or entirely by Somalis:

In three search warrants unsealed Thursday, the FBI alleges that instead of feeding hungry children, Feeding Our Future and several of its contractors spent millions on expenditures including personal cars, junkets to places like Las Vegas, and real estate purchases as far away as Kenya.
The FBI says hardly any of the millions of dollars that Feeding Our Future administered actually went to children.
Bank records show roughly $900,000 went to a property firm in Nairobi. Another $1.1 million went to purchase adjacent shorefront lots on Prior Lake, Minnesota, in July 2021. And $575,000 bought a home in Savage for a co-owner of Empire Cuisine and Marketing, according to the warrant.

The same co-owner of Empire Cuisine and Marketing allegedly sent himself $2 million directly. Empire Cuisine didn’t return Sahan Journal’s phone calls seeking comment for this story.

The warrant related to Empire and ThinkTechAct alleges other expenses, including $500,000 for custom home building, $14,000 for lawn care, and $4,100 for rooms at a Ritz Carlton hotel.

The search warrants also detail expenses on cars, including an $87,000 pickup truck. S&S Catering, one of the companies that said it provided prepared meals for the programs, allegedly spent $200,000 at car dealerships in 2021. The search warrants also allege that Bock spent $15,000 of the federal money at a car dealership for personal reasons.

As for lavish trips, the search warrants detail S&S Catering spending $49,000 on travel agencies, including to Amax Travel, which offers packages for people wanting to make the Hajj, an annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

No doubt most Somalis are wonderful, law-abiding people. But there are a considerable number–Minnesota has experienced the same phenomenon with child care fraud–who see our governments parceling out trillions of dollars with little concern for where the money goes, or what is done with it, and think they would be foolish not to get in on the action. Meanwhile, American taxpayers are the biggest suckers in world history.

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