President Joe Biden announced during his State of the Union address that his administration is taking new steps to combat fraud and theft of federal pandemic relief funds.
“We’re going after the criminals who stole billions in relief money meant for small businesses and millions of Americans," Biden said.
The president said the Department of Justice will name a chief prosecutor to focus on pandemic fraud.
The White House says strike force teams will use "state-of-the-art data analytics tools to connect the dots on identity theft and other complex fraud schemes."
They will also be tasked with investigating cases of criminal fraud in programs like the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and unemployment insurance.
"The dramatic outpouring of pandemic relief in 2020 saw an expansion of foreign and domestic criminal syndicates defrauding unemployment insurance and other benefits programs to rob American taxpayers of billions of dollars that should have gone to support deserving small businesses and workers who had lost their jobs," the White House said.
In the coming weeks, Biden is expected to sign a new executive order that will help government agencies identify theft involving public benefits and support the victims of identity fraud.