US Secret Service investigators seizes $286 million in fraudulently obtained COVID-19 relief funds

The funds, originally a form of aid to businesses struggling during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, were obtained by scammers using fake identities and dummy accounts, the agency said.

The US Secret Service said criminals used a third-party payment system and over 15,000 accounts to conceal and move illegal funds

Billions have been fraudulently claimed through various government pandemic relief programs — including Paycheck Protection Program loans, unemployment insurance and others

The Secret Service has opened at least 3,850 investigations into pandemic-related fraud inquiries. 

The agency said it has seized at least $1.4 billion that fraudsters obtained since 2020.