Unemployment fraud during the pandemic has been the greatest theft of taxpayer dollars in American history. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) estimates unemployment fraud has left taxpayers on the hook for $163 billion, or more, and only around $4 billion has been recovered. Compounding the offense, transnational organized criminal networks, including cartels based in China, Ghana, Nigeria, Romania and Russia, appear to have carried out much of this fraud, exploiting the pandemic to steal American taxpayers’ money.

I introduced the Chase COVID Unemployment Fraud Act of 2022 in the Senate to jumpstart efforts to claw back these stolen funds by ensuring aggressive identification, investigation and prosecution of criminal fraud in pandemic unemployment programs, and to provide incentives for states to recover fraudulent payments.