Curtis vows to hunt down billions in stolen COVID relief money

Mar 8, 2021, 11:58 AM
Utah Rep. John Curtis joined other lawmakers asking the President to help local media outlets survive during the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo of Rep. John Curtis, Rick Bowmer / AP)
(File photo of Rep. John Curtis, Rick Bowmer / AP)

SALT LAKE CITY — Thieves have stolen billions of dollars in COVID-19 relief from American taxpayers — that means YOU. 

But a Utah lawmaker promises: “I am on it.”

Read more: Senators Lee and Romney weigh in on the passage of the COVID-19 relief package

Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, joined Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic to explain how the fraud happened and what he plans to do about it.

“It just makes my blood boil — I want our billions back,” Debbie demanded.

“I am on it,” Curtis replied. “You are right to be outraged. Americans should be outraged. It’s just totally unacceptable.”

Stolen COVID relief adds up to billions

According to the Sacramento Bee in a December report:

In late November, a group of California district attorneys made the stunning disclosure that the state had disbursed as much as $1 billion in fraudulent pandemic unemployment assistance to state prisoners and their accomplices.

Now the bank that handed out the COVID-19 money says the amount of fraudulent aid distributed by California since the pandemic hit could be twice as much.

In a letter to state legislators, Bank of America said [in December] that it has uncovered fraudulent activity covering more than 345,000 different accounts.

Needy families, businesses robbed

How did inmates and their partners in crime steal billion in COVID-19 relief? Curtis explains.

“That’s just one case,” he said. “A lot of this came down to a problem in the CARES Act, where we allowed people to self-certify their identity to get their benefits.”

“Is there any chance that we recover any of this money?” Dave asked.

“Yeah, you bet,” Curtis said. “Let’s face it, these are billions of dollars, and we need to put the time and energy to get it back and hold people accountable who thought this was a good idea.”

Read more: Utah delegation on COVID relief bill: “Congress has lost their minds”

“What if it ends up overseas, Representative Curtis? I don’t know that we can actually get it back,” Debbie pointed out.

“You’re right, but I think we owe it to the taxpayers to try it,” he replied.

Curtis said the stolen COVID relief represents billions of dollars meant for people, their families and small businesses — hurting people who need that financial help to stay afloat.

“Every one of these dollars that is taken fraudulently is taken away from those who are really in need,” Curtis stressed.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, a.s well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play. 

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Curtis vows to hunt down billions in stolen COVID relief money