In a press release from May 12, the U.S. Secret Service announced that it has recovered and returned more than $2 billion in unemployment benefits to state coffers. These benefits were stolen and fraudulently collected over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anyone who didn’t see something like this coming is, at best, extremely naive about human nature. With unemployment benefits having been as generous and exorbitant as they have been, not only have people been incentivized to continue collecting them rather than returning to work, but some have also apparently been incentivized to outright steal them by filing fraudulent claims.

People Are Stealing Unemployment Money

Specifically, the Secret Service has uncovered $2 billion that has been fraudulently taken from various state coffers around the country as well as an additional $640 million that has been pilfered from federal coffers.

To make matter worse, these numbers only represent the amount of fraud that has so far been discovered. This is only the amount of stolen money that has been successfully returned. There may well be much more stolen unemployment money that has not yet been returned.

Assistant Special Agent Roy Dotson of the Secret Service pointed this out when speaking to CNBC on the matter. He referred to the $2 billion as only a “conservative estimate” of the total amount that has been stolen and made clear that many investigations into unemployment fraud are underway.

“This is typical of the cyber fraud we deal with annually,” Dotson said. “It’s just compounded based on additional funds [from] COVID relief.”

Congress has already passed six gargantuan spending bills with the excuse that they are necessary to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. But with so much newly created money flooding into the system, significant amounts of fraud are bound to happen. This is quite apart from all of the blatantly politically motivated payouts for favored interest groups that line the pages of all of these bills.

In total, these bills call for about $6.1 trillion in spending.

We can confidently conclude that the fraud that has been uncovered to have resulted from these bills — both in the traditional sense and of the kind that is done under cover of law and political necessity — is only the tip of the whole sordid iceberg.