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Waste of the Day: Gang Members Used COVID Relief Funds to Hire Hitmen

Gang members and other violent criminals stole $836 million in COVID relief funds. Some of these funds paid gangland hitmen.

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Waste of the Day: Gang Members Used COVID Relief Funds to Hire Hitmen

The Department of Justice recently charged 371 people with stealing a combined $836 million in funds that were meant to be used for Covid 19 relief, according to The New York Post.

The charges came after a three-month investigation by various law enforcement agencies, which led to 63 of the 371 people charged to be deemed gang members and others with connections to violent crime. Some of the funds were even used in murder-for-hire plots, prosecutors say.

Waste of the Day 11.08.23 from Open the Books

Much of the misused funds comes from pandemic unemployment insurance as well as funds from Small Business Administration programs including the Paycheck Protection Program and economic injury disaster loans, according to the DOJ.

These charges are in addition to the 3,000 individuals already charged by the DOJ, with the agency seizing $1.4 billion in misused pandemic-era relief funds. Some of the most fraudulent programs include the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, both administered by the Small Business Administration.

These programs have been rife with fraud. The PPP program alone had about $200 billion in fraudulent payments, equaling about 17% of the loans awarded.

The criminals have spent stolen funds on luxury cars, private jet rides, vacation homes, and designer jewelry, according to The Post. Just last week, a real estate broker was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for using $381,000 in fraudulently obtained funds to buy a Bentley, a luxury apartment and pay for cosmetic procedures.


Of those charged in this wave, 119 pleaded guilty or were convicted, and 117 cases were handled in civil court. The DOJ says $231.4 million of the stolen funds have been recovered so far.

COVID-19 stimulus programs continue to be some of the most fraudulent programs in history, with record amounts of taxpayer money used for self-enrichment by criminals thanks to insufficient oversight and controls.

The #WasteOfTheDay is brought to you by the forensic auditors at

This article was originally published by RealClearInvestigations and made available via RealClearWire.

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Adam Andrzejewski (say: Angie-eff-ski) is the CEO/founder of Before dedicating his life to public service, Adam co-founded HomePages Directories, a $20 million publishing company (1997-2007). His works have been featured on the BBC, Good Morning America, ABC World News Tonight, C-SPAN, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, FOX News, CNN, National Public Radio (NPR), Forbes, Newsweek, and many other national media.

Today, is the largest private repository of U.S. public-sector spending. Mission: post "every dime, online, in real time." In 2022, captured nearly all public expenditures in the country, including nearly all disclosed federal government spending; 50 of 50 state checkbooks; and 25 million public employee salary and pension records from 50,000 public bodies across America.

The group's aggressive transparency and forensic auditing of government spending has led to the assembly of grand juries, indictments, and successful prosecutions; congressional briefings, hearings, and subpoenas; Government Accountability Office (GAO) audits; Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports; federal legislation; and much more.

Our Honorary Chairman - In Memoriam is U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, MD.

Andrzejewski's federal oversight work was included in the President's Budget To Congress FY2021. The budget cited his organization by name, bullet-pointed their findings, and footnoted/hyperlinked to their report.

Posted on YouTube, Andrzejewski's presentation, The Depth of the Swamp, at the Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar 2020 in Naples, Florida received 3.8 million views.

Andrzejewski has spoken at the Columbia School of Journalism, Harvard Law School and the law schools at Georgetown and George Washington regarding big data journalism. As a senior policy contributor at Forbes, Adam had nearly 20 million pageviews on 206 published investigations. In 2022, investigative fact-finding on Dr. Fauci's finances led to his cancellation at Forbes.

In 2022, Andrzejewski did 473 live television and radio interviews across broadcast, major cable platforms, and radio shows. Andrzejewski is the author of The Waste of the Day column at Real Clear Policy. The column is syndicated by Sinclair Broadcast Group, owners of nearly 200 ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX affiliates across USA.

Andrzejewski lives in Hinsdale, Illinois with his wife Kerry and three daughters. He is a lector at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Church and has finished the Chicago Marathon eight times (PR 3:58.49 in 2022).



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