Billions of dollars meant to help people cope with the pain of the pandemic disappeared in fraud schemes big and small, and the government is only now taking stock of how extensive the abuse became.
The Justice Department charged 48 people this week with operating a massive fraud ring in Minnesota that drained $240 million from a pandemic hunger program intended to feed children.
Dozens of people allegedly made up names and ages for children they claimed to have fed, then pocketed the money for those fake meals.
While the scale of the scheme was unusual, the approach was not.
So much money flowed to programs with so little oversight that people all over the world managed to siphon off piles of cash that the government is unlikely ever to recover.
“Congress failed to implement any tracking, accountability, [or] oversight into any of the programs,