(Luis Cornelio, Headline USA) The Biden Justice Department is facing growing pressure as new revelations come to light about the extensive embezzlement of U.S. taxpayer funds earmarked for COVID-19 relief, carried out by international criminal groups and foreign entities.
These groups are accused of siphoning off approximately $280 billion, originally earmarked to assist struggling U.S. families and hospitals. This alleged theft has sparked a strong response from House Republicans. Leading the effort to demand accountability from the DOJ is Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, who chairs the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic.
“Estimates imply that at least half of all stolen COVID-19 relief funds went to Russian, Chinese, and Nigerian criminals,” stated Wenstrup in a letter directed to embattled Attorney General Merrick Garland. Wenstrup also quoted an FBI official who characterized the theft as “an economic attack on the United States.”
In the same letter, Wenstrup alleged that the U.S. Secret Service had indicated that a faction of hackers linked to the Chinese Communist Party had managed to seize at least $20 million in relief funds by exploiting government computer networks in six states.
Wenstrup demanded access to documents and communications relevant to the ongoing investigation conducted by the DOJ.
The Republican chairman emphasized, “[W]e write today to better understand the full scope of this problem and what actions the Department has taken to investigate international COVID-19 relief program fraud and hold these foreign actors accountable.” The request was accompanied by a call for a response by Sept. 12.
The letter’s release comes a week following Garland’s admission that an astounding $836 million linked to COVID-19-related fraud had been misappropriated from taxpayers. Overall, the DOJ has managed to seize more than $1.4 billion in stolen assets.
Garland highlighted the apprehension and indictment of 371 individuals, among them violent gang members, accused of devising plots to defraud taxpayers. In an August 23 press release, “[T]he COVID-19 public health emergency may have ended, but the Justice Department’s work to identify and prosecute those who stole pandemic relief funds is far from over.”