Does Anyone Care About Fraud?

I’m so old, I can remember when one of the chief differences between the parties was that Republicans wanted less government spending and Democrats more, but both were opposed to fraud and at least claimed to want efficiency in government.

I think it has been quite a while since the Democrats have really minded being defrauded. In their eyes, spending is an end in itself. Whether the money goes to people who qualify for it under a myriad of government programs, or to people who only pretend to qualify, is not very important. This attitude reached a climax of sorts with the government’s response to covid.

The feds printed (borrowed from the Fed) trillions of dollars and pumped them into the economy in a variety of ways, including simply depositing them in people’s checking accounts. Who knows how many of those dollars were obtained by fraud? Who cares? Pretty much everyone seemed to be in on the scam.

In the aftermath of that fiasco, here and there, frauds have been identified and in some instances prosecuted. In Minnesota, the Feeding Our Future free-food scandal accounted for more than $250 million obtained under false pretenses. Similar scandals have erupted across the country. I can only surmise that fraud was so easy because the government didn’t really care.

A case in point comes from Florida, where a Colombia native stole hundreds of thousands from the PPP program:

A glamorous Miami real estate broker is facing federal fraud raps after authorities said she used COVID-19 relief funds on a new Bentley, cosmetic procedures and a luxury apartment.

Daniela Rendon, 31, received $381,000 through the Small Business Administration and Paycheck Protection Program, according to the US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.

But instead of using the government cash to keep legitimate employees afloat amid the pandemic, Rendon allegedly dispersed the fake payroll funds to friends and family for personal gain.

This was ridiculously easy to do:

As part of the scheme, Rendon allegedly falsified documents related to her real estate business in order to qualify for the PPP money — including her annual revenue, payroll, costs of products, IRS tax info and number of employees. She submitted the fabricated reports to lenders in New Jersey and Idaho, the Miami Herald reported.

Rendon, who calls herself an “Ultra Luxury” real estate agent on LinkedIn, then intersected the loan payments and routed them to herself and those in her inner circle, federal prosecutors allege.

Ms. Rendon in her taxpayer-provided Bentley:

I doubt that anywhere near one percent of those who defrauded the various government covid programs have been, or will be, caught. We are living in a poisonous environment in which it seems that many people, perhaps most, are on the take. Others are getting government money, why shouldn’t I? is a question that many are asking. When corruption becomes the norm, why not join in?

I think liberals are OK with this. In fact, I think they like it. If nipping off government funds, rather than engaging in productive activity in the private sector, is the easiest way to prosperity, their control over our society only grows. So, sure: go ahead and defraud us. Corruption, if you are a liberal, is your friend.

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