Sunday, Sep 25, 2022 - 01:04:35
519 results - (0.018 seconds)

billion in pandemic:

latest news at page 1:
    In the five months after March 2020, over 57 million people filed claims with the unemployment insurance program. "As the DOL-OIG reported, states struggled to handle the substantial increase in the volume of UI claims and to determine that benefits were paid to the right person in the correct amount," said the Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General. From March 2020 until July 2021, U.S. federal and state governments paid out roughly $794 billion in unemployment benefits, according to the Department of Labor. The DOL-OIG stated that it is focusing on "large-scale identity theft schemes involving multiple victims and organized criminal groups, including street gangs." In one case, 11 members of a gang were charged with allegedly obtaining $4.3 million in fraudulent unemployment benefits. The gang members are suspected of using the identification of "more than 800 victims to submit nearly 1,000 claims for UI benefits." Investigations by the DOL-OIG resulted in more than 1,000 people being charged with unemployment insurance fraud since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. "This milestone of 1,000 individuals being charged...
    Fraudsters stole more than $45 billion in unlawful unemployment claims during the pandemic, the Labor Department concluded on Thursday - while warning that the actual figure may be even higher. Criminals used inventive measures to access the COVID benefits, with more than 205,000 Social Security numbers that belonged to dead people being used to claim the cash. Some schemes saw the Social Security numbers of prisoners being used, despite them being ineligible for the unemployment benefits. The latest figure is more than double the earlier estimate, issued by the Labor Department last year, when they concluded that $16 billion had been stolen. Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat representing Oregon who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, said the new report proved the urgency of improving security checks on unemployment benefits. 'I've long said we need a national set of technology and security standards for state systems to better prevent this kind of fraud, and we're going to keep working to get our reforms passed,' he said. A woman walks past a shuttered shop in Manhattan on June 2, 2020, in the...
    The Department of Labor's independent watchdog estimates that roughly $45.6 billion may have been fraudulently paid out through jobless benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly $30 billion more than a previous appraisal. More than 1,000 people have been charged with fraud after the Office of the Inspector General for the department identified that scammers stole billions through the government's unemployment insurance program by filing claims in multiple states with suspicious email accounts or using the identities of dead people or prisoners. FDA RELEASES ADDITIONAL DOSES OF MODERNA'S COVID-19 BOOSTER AMID SHORTAGES "This milestone of 1,000 individuals being charged with crimes involving UI fraud and the identification of $45.6 billion in potentially fraudulent UI payments highlights the magnitude of this problem," said Inspector General Larry Turner. "Hundreds of billions in pandemic funds attracted fraudsters seeking to exploit the UI program — resulting in historic levels of fraud and other improper payments." The inspector general's report detailed that the potential fraud took place between March 2020 and April 2022. The new estimate is a sharp uptick from the...
    by Casey Harper   Top Republicans in the U.S. House are pursuing an investigation into reports that federal tax dollars designated for COVID-related learning loss were spent to promote “equity warriors,” critical race theory programming and more at local schools. The lawmakers point to billions of dollars spent across multiple pieces of legislation to help local schools deal with the pandemic, including $122 billion in the American Rescue Plan, $54.3 billion in the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act as well as $13.2 billion in the CARES Act for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund (ESSER). Now, House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., and Committee on Education and Labor Ranking Member Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., are leading a group of Republicans in an investigation into how those funds were spent. They sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona as well as multiple state leaders addressing how “some states are spending taxpayer dollars to push progressive left causes.” “For example, California used ESSER funds for training in ‘environmental literacy,’ ‘ethnic studies,’ and...
    A Victorville woman was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of stealing more than $500,000 in pandemic unemployment relief by impersonating people incarcerated in California’s state prisons, federal authorities said. Cynthia Ann Hernandez, 32, also known as Cynthia Roberts, is charged with four counts of mail fraud, two counts of aggravated identity theft and one count of access device fraud in excess of $1,000, according to a federal grand jury indictment filed Thursday. From June to August 2020, Hernandez filed fraudulent applications for pandemic-related unemployment insurance benefits with the California Employment Development Department, according to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Central District of California, which serves seven counties, among them Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside. She used the names of people incarcerated in the state prison system in the applications, claiming that the applicants lived in Los Angeles and Orange counties, prosecutors said. State officials authorized Bank of America to issue debit cards in the names of the people listed in the applications, prosecutors said. The cards were mailed to Hernandez, who allegedly used the cards to withdraw cash...
    Over 1.1 million COVID-19 stimulus checks, totaling over $1.3 billion, were sent out to incarcerated people across the United States, data from the Internal Revenue Service revealed. The $1.3 billion figure includes economic impact payments and does not account for recovery rebate credits, another form of COVID-19 relief given during the pandemic, according to a letter the IRS sent to Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) obtained by the Washington Examiner. Some 163,000 recipients were serving life sentences. DESANTIS CALLS FOR IRS AUDITS ON LAWMAKERS WHO VOTED FOR INFLATION REDUCTION ACT "It’s outrageous that those who inflicted pain on a family or community by committing a crime received a single dime from the government during the pandemic. If anything, the funds should have gone to the victims who would have been better served," Bacon said in a statement to the Washington Examiner. Of the checks doled out, 156,000 were sent to prisoners at the federal level and 982,000 to prisoners at the state level, per the IRS. Stimulus money was given to prisoners via checks, direct deposits, and...
    The Secret Service announced on Friday it had recovered $286 million in Covid-19 relief funds obtained by impostors who used fake identities. It brings the total to a whopping $1.4 billion from more than 3,850 pandemic fraud investigations. The latest haul came from a probe by its Orlando Office. It targeted people using stolen or fraudulent credentials to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans, a COVID relief program intended to support small businesses. The agency worked with Green Dot to identify roughly 15,000 accounts and seize $286 million connected to the accounts.  'This is an important step in returning stolen funds to the American people,' said said Kevin Chambers, director for COVID-19 fraud enforcement at the Justice Department.  'This forfeiture effort and those to come are a direct and necessary response to the unprecedented size and scope of pandemic relief fraud.' In March, the Government Accountability Office reported that while agencies were able to distribute COVID-19 relief funds quickly, 'the tradeoff was that they did not have systems in place to prevent and identify payment errors and fraud' due in...
    (CNN)US Secret Service investigators have seized $286 million in illegally obtained coronavirus pandemic relief funds, the agency announced Friday. An investigation run by the service's Orlando, Florida, field office determined conspirators fraudulently submitted small business pandemic relief loan applications "using fabricated or stolen employment and personal information," the agency said. The US Secret Service said criminals used a third-party payment system and over 15,000 accounts to conceal and move illegal funds. The US Secret Service has ramped up efforts to target criminals who unlawfully obtained pandemic relief funds two years since the coronavirus pandemic begun. "Since 2020, the Secret Service has seized over $1.4 billion in fraudulently obtained funds and assisted in returning approximately $2.3 billion to state unemployment insurance programs," the agency said Friday, noting it had launched nearly 4,000 investigations. David Smith, assistant director of the US Secret Service Office of Investigations, said by aiding in the return of nearly $2.3 billion in stolen funds over the last 30 months, the agency has demonstrated "a clear and firm commitment to the vitality of American businesses across the country."Read...
    by Brett Rowland   Spending on food stamps has increased by $53.5 billion – an 89% increase – in the two pandemic years. By comparison, that’s how much the entire program cost in 2009 during the Great Recession. Spending on the U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program grew 88.5% from $60.3 billion in 2019 to $113.8 billion in 2021. Spending on the SNAP program had previously peaked at $79.8 billion in 2013 before declining for the next six years. The average monthly benefit per person increased 68%, from $129.83 per person to $217.88 per person, from 2019 to 2021, according to figures from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service. The federal program helps supplement the food budget of people who qualify. SNAP provides benefits to eligible low-income people through an Electronic Benefits Transfer card that can be used at stores to buy food. Emergency orders are helping some states collect more federal help. For example, by having a COVID-19 state of emergency in place, “Connecticut has received and distributed an additional $748 million of emergency SNAP benefits,” Connecticut Gov....
    DETROIT (AP) — General Motors will reinstate quarterly dividend payments that were suspended during the pandemic that shut down its factories. The automaker said Friday that the dividend of 9 cents per share will be paid on Sept. 15 to shareholders of record on Aug. 31. READ MORE: Detroit's Historic Marlborough Apartments To Reopen For First Time In 40 YearsGM canceled its quarterly dividend in April 2020 as COVID-19 spread unchecked in the U.S. and manufacturing in the U.S. screeched to a near halt. The last time the Detroit automaker suspended dividend payments was in 2008 during the nation’s worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Those payments resumed six years later, in 2014. READ MORE: Michigan Company To Help Produce Monkeypox Vaccine For Federal GovernmentGM also announced that its going to start buying back shares again. The company board boosted its existing stock buyback program’s capacity to $5 billion, from $3.3 billion earlier this week. Shares of General Motors Co. are up 7% this month. MORE NEWS: Judge Grants Preliminary Injunction Blocking Michigan's 1931 Abortion Ban© 2022 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — What started as a $4 trillion effort during President Joe Biden’s first months in office to rebuild America’s public infrastructure and family support systems has ended up a much slimmer, but not unsubstantial, compromise package of inflation-fighting health care, climate change and deficit reduction strategies that appears headed toward quick votes in Congress. Lawmakers are pouring over the $739 billion proposal struck by two top negotiators, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and holdout Sen. Joe Manchin, the conservative West Virginia Democrat who rejected Biden’s earlier drafts but surprised colleagues late Wednesday with a new one. What’s in, and out, of the Democrats’ 725-page “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022” as it stands now: LOWER PRESCRIPTION DRUG COSTS Launching a long-sought goal, the bill would allow the Medicare program to negotiate prescription drug prices with pharmaceutical companies, saving the federal government some $288 billion over the 10-year budget window. Those new revenues would be put back into lower costs for seniors on medications, including a $2,000 out-of-pocket cap for older adults buying prescriptions from pharmacies. Money would also be...
    MIAMI (AP) — Long-battered shares of Carnival Corp. jumped more than 12% Friday as the cruise line owner reported a big increase in revenue, occupancy levels, and bookings for future trips. However, the company posted a $1.83 billion second-quarter loss and said the effects of the pandemic and higher fuel prices will lead to another loss in the third quarter. The cruise industry was shut down by the pandemic and chafed under regulations that were only recently eased by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even now, a nascent recovery in cruising is uneven, with more demand in the U.S. for nearby cruises, such as Carnival trips to the Caribbean, than more far-flung itineraries. Carnival, which operates nine cruise brands, said 91% of its fleet is sailing again. Ship occupancy in the quarter that ended last month rose to 69%, compared with 54% in the previous quarter. Bookings nearly doubled from the first quarter and were the strongest since the beginning of the pandemic, the company said. CEO Arnold Donald said some of the increase in bookings came...
    California officials have recovered $1.1 billion in unemployment insurance funds amid an ongoing investigation into widespread pandemic-related fraud, authorities said Tuesday. Most of the money, on about 780,000 inactivated benefit cards, will be turned over to the federal government because the claims went through the emergency Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, according to a statement from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office. “Fraudsters and criminal organizations ripped off California, along with every other state, during one of the worst crises in history,” Newsom said. “We’re taking aggressive action to return that money to the taxpayers.” The California Employment Development Department was overwhelmed with unemployment benefits applications at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic after Newsom issued the nation’s first statewide stay-at-home order, which forced many businesses to close. California California freezes 345,000 ‘suspicious’ disability insurance claims The state Employment Development Department froze 27,000 medical provider accounts and 345,000 disability insurance claims that the agency suspected of fraud. Since then, the agency received at least 26.4 million claims and paid $180 billion in benefits. But about $20 billion of those...
    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — About $1.1 billion in unused unemployment benefits returned to California on Tuesday, money state officials said was most likely attempted fraud during the pandemic. The money had been sitting on 780,000 Bank of America debit cards that were never used. State officials worked with Bank of America to make sure those benefits did not belong to people with legitimate claims who were just having difficulty activating their cards. Once they were satisfied, the government took the money back. READ MORE: Boat Catches Fire In Sacramento River Beneath I-80 BridgeBefore the pandemic, less than $10 million per year in unused benefits returned to the state. but Tuesday, the Newsom administration announced it was $1.1 billion from 2020, a sign of the size and scale of fraud that targeted the nation’s most populous state. State officials could not say all of the reasons why fraudsters would not use those debit cards. In some cases, people who had not applied for unemployment benefits had received debit cards in the mail — a sign that someone had stolen their identity...
    Charitable giving in the United States reached a record $485 billion in 2021, though the increase did not keep pace with inflation, according to a report Tuesday offering a comprehensive look at American philanthropy. The Giving USA report says donations in 2021 were 4% higher than the record-setting $466 billion contributed in 2020. But they were down 0.7% when adjusted for inflation. Many nonprofits are now feeling the strain because giving is not growing as fast as price increases, said Laura MacDonald, chair of the Giving USA Foundation. In response to the intense needs of the early COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the calls for racial justice, giving increased in unusual ways in 2020, but has generally returned to previous patterns. “In 2021, many donors returned to their favored causes, with many of the sectors that struggled in 2020 making a recovery in 2021,” MacDonald said in a statement. Giving to arts and culture groups, which suffered during the pandemic, climbed 27.5% in 2021 to more than $23.5 billion. Conversely, giving to education organizations, which saw increased donations during...
    A congressional panel Tuesday will examine payouts under a federal coronavirus pandemic aid program intended to help small businesses weather the COVID-19 outbreak amid revelations that as much as 20% of the money may have been awarded to fraudsters. The problems in the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, overseen by the U.S. Small Business Administration, included a finding by congressional investigators that some 1.6 million applications for the loans may have been approved without being evaluated. Separately, the SBA’s Office of the Inspector General estimated that at least $80 billion distributed from the $400 billion program could have been potentially fraudulent, much of it in scams using stolen identities. The program is expected to be at the center of a congressional subcommittee hearing that also will tackle broader fraud concerns with the flood of pandemic aid from multiple federal government programs for states, local governments, businesses and the unemployed. The $5 trillion in total aid, delivered in a series of bills signed by Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden, have come with numerous complications. Fraud overwhelmed enhanced unemployment insurance...
    LONDON (AP) — The British government plans to burn billions of pounds (dollars) in unusable personal protective equipment purchased in haste during the coronavirus pandemic, a public spending watchdog said Friday. The idea of burning the facemasks, gowns and other equipment to generate power has not impressed the watchdog committee. The panel is investigating how the government came to spend 4 billion pounds ($5 billion) on protective gear that has to be dumped because it is defective or does not meet U.K. standards. Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee said the government planned to dispose of 15,000 pallets a month of the gear “via a combination of recycling and burning to generate power.” “The costs and environmental impact of disposing of the excess and unusable PPE is unclear,” the committee noted. Pat Cullen, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, a professional body, accused the government of “sending billions of pounds up in smoke.” In a report, the accounts committee found that the Department of Health lost 75% of the 12 billion pounds it spent on PPE in the first year...
    BART leaders on Thursday approved the rail system’s first fare hike in over two years as the agency relies on nearly $600 million in pandemic relief money to stave off service cuts and more drastic fare increases. The 3.4% increase will take effect in July after BART’s board postponed an increase planned for January. Fares for short trips will climb by less than 10 cents while longer trips like Antioch to downtown San Francisco will rise by around 30 cents. BART’s governing board scheduled the increase in 2019 as part of a plan to raise ticket prices every other year through 2026 in line with inflation rates. But that was before the pandemic caused a collapse in ridership – BART’s traditional main source of revenue – and inflation surged to over 7% in California. Even as the cost of living skyrockets, BART has been able to restore service to pre-pandemic levels and avoid larger rate hikes thanks to more than $1.5 billion in federal relief that the agency is using to balance the budget through 2026. By comparison, California’s gas...
    Courtneyk | E+ | Getty Images More than $163 billion in benefits likely leaked from the unemployment system during the pandemic, with a "significant portion" attributable to fraud, according to a U.S. Department of Labor report. Congress created many new programs in March 2020 to support millions of people who lost their jobs from the Covid-19 fallout. Together, the programs raised weekly benefits, increased their duration and expanded the pool of workers eligible for payments. They ended last September, though many states opted out sooner. In that time, the federal government issued almost $873 billion in total unemployment payments, the Labor Department said in a semiannual report to Congress released Thursday. More from Personal Finance:Advocates slam Biden's move to cancel $10,000 in student debtEmployer fertility benefits are on the rise amid the Great ResignationMake these money moves before the Fed raises interest rates again "The unprecedented infusion of federal funds into the [unemployment insurance] program gave individuals and organized criminal groups a high-value target to exploit," according to the report. Criminals were able to defraud the system due to program...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawmakers are working toward compromise on President Joe Biden’s $33 billion Ukraine aid request, even as signs emerge that Democrats may need to swallow another COVID-19 setback and drop their goal of wrapping pandemic spending into the package. Bipartisan talks among House and Senate Appropriations committee leaders are underway in hopes of producing legislation Congress could vote on as soon as next week, members of both parties say. Changes in Biden’s proposal are likely — the price tag, particularly for military spending, could rise — but there’s wide agreement on the urgency of helping Kyiv and regional allies resist Russia’s 10-week-old onslaught. Republican budget-writers “are probably knocking some things out and adding some things. But I think by and large, everybody agrees we’ve got to do all we can to help,” said No. 2 Senate GOP leader John Thune of South Dakota. He said some Republicans believe “this package may not be robust enough, but I think it probably strikes close to the right balance.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., cited broad backing for the measure...
    The owners of department store giant JCPenney have reportedly made a multibillion-dollar offer to acquire one of the chain's biggest rivals - Kohl's - two years after filing for bankruptcy and shutting down nearly a third of its stores. The proposal from Simon Property and Canada-based Brookfield Asset Management - which together scooped the shopping mall stalwart out of bankruptcy in December 2020 to the tune of $1.5 billion - offers to buy the store at $68 a share, bringing the total value of the deal to $8.6 billion. A source reportedly told The New York Post, the first to break the story, that the owners plan to maintain the identity of the two competing brands while streamlining operations and cutting costs by roughly $1 billion over the next three years. The two chains would reportedly be run by a single management team during the initial stages of the merger, the source said. The companies also would have all of their in-house apparel manufactured by the same label.  If successful, the new business would nix previous plans to roll out Sephora stands inside its 689 Kohl’s stores, the insider revealed.  The...
    ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz called for compromise in negotiations to replenish the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund and to pay frontline worker bonuses during his fourth State of the State address on Sunday. Legislative leaders are deadlocked on the unemployment insurance issue, causing an automatic tax increase on employers statewide after lawmakers missed a March 15 deadline. Walz implored the joint session of the Legislature to find common ground in the last weeks of the session and provide relief for those workers and businesses. READ MORE: Next Weather: Record Cold Possible Monday“We have the resources to do it and we can move Minnesota forward in a bipartisan matter so I would ask, if we’re getting close to a compromise on this, let’s finish this deal and let’s finish it now,” Walz said. “We have an opportunity to get money back in people’s pockets. We can compromise on how we do that.” Senate Republicans want to use $2.7 billion to refill the trust fund. But House Democrats have tied that to a $1 billion proposal to...
    This content was republished with permission from WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today. Restaurants and other businesses that have survived more than two years of COVID-19 restrictions could see an infusion of federal dollars in the coming months, as long as U.S. lawmakers reach final agreement on a multibillion-dollar package. The U.S. House has approved a bill with $42 billion for restaurants and $13 billion for a hard-hit industries program that would help small businesses that weren’t eligible for restaurant aid. That legislation, however, only got the backing of six House Republicans, signaling it doesn’t have the support necessary in the evenly divided U.S. Senate to make it to President Joe Biden’s desk. That’s where Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin and Mississippi GOP Sen. Roger Wicker stepped in with their own bill to provide $40 billion to restaurants and $8 billion to various small businesses. “We’re looking at any way to move this as soon as we possibly can, because it’s pretty desperate,” Cardin said during a brief interview. Aside from the $2 billion gap...
    Republicans doubled down on their demand to hold a vote on an amendment that would keep the Title 42 border restrictions in place as part of $10 billion covid funding bill that President Joe Biden wants passed. 'No amendments, no bill,' GOP Senator Mitt Romney, the lead negotiator for Republicans, told reporters on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. And Republicans put the blame for the delay in pandemic funding on the White House, calling the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announcement that the Trump-era policy on the border would expire in May 'not helpful.'  'Putting this Title 42 issue out just as we were about to move forward on this $10 billion deal was not helpful,' said GOP Senator Roy Blunt. He said the issue was going to to get punted to after Congress' two-week Easter recess, pushing a vote on the measure closer to the end of April. The White House has described the funding measure as 'vital.' Republican Senators Mitt Romney (left) and Roy Blunt (right) doubled down on their demand to hold a vote on an amendment...
    Lawmakers have reached a bipartisan deal to offer $10 billion in additional Covid-19 funding.  The number is less than half of what the White House originally requested, but some Republicans were prepared to offer  nothing as they claimed previous Covid funding had been squandered or still had yet to be spent.  While past Covid-19 relief bills, such as the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, have been saddled with funding for struggling families and businesses, the new deal would be narrowly tailored to public health efforts to fight the virus.  The package would enable the federal government to purchase more therapeutics, tests, vaccines and other supplies, but would not allow for international aid, according to the Washington Post.  Senate Republicans including Mitt Romney, Utah, Richard Burr, N.C. and Roy Blunt, Mo., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., were working with Democrats after the pandemic funding was pulled from the 2022 budget bill. Lead negotiators on the Democratic side were Sens. Chris Coons, Del., Chuck Schumer, N.Y., and Patty Murray, Wash. The new deal could clear the upper chamber as soon as this week. ...
    The private art market saw its sales finally exceed pre-pandemic levels. The art market saw a 29% increase in sales year-over-year, reflecting the increased spending on high-end luxuries in the second year of the pandemic. More than $65.1 billion worth of art was purchased in 2021, according to the 2022 Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report. BIDEN'S CREDENTIALED CLASS BAILOUT “The art market has demonstrated incredible resilience in 2021, with a strong uplift in aggregate sales, despite still operating under some very challenging conditions,” said Clare McAndrew, founder of Dublin-based Arts Economics. “Dealers and auction houses successfully adjusted to a new two-tier system of online and offline sales and events, and the rising wealth of the high-net-worth collectors helped to support demand at the higher end of the market.” The United States was the primary driver of this market, purchasing about $28 billion in art in a single year. China was second, with $13.4 billion purchased by its residents. The United Kingdom was the third-highest purchaser, with $11.3 billion. An estimated $64.1...
    The word “public” is an important part of charter school messaging. They’re not privatizing public education, they tell us, they’re “public charter schools.” And yet a USA Today investigation finds that charter schools got at least $1 billion in Paycheck Protection Program loans because they are private businesses. (Disclosure: Kos Media received a Paycheck Protection Program loan.) The PPP loans were forgivable for businesses that didn’t lay off workers after getting the money. But some businesses needed them more than others, and charter schools were not at the top of the list, since they do receive substantial public funding. USA Today found that 93% of the charter schools receiving PPP loans also got their usual public money, and the schools also were eligible for federal COVID-19 grants to support social distancing. Actual public schools were eligible for the COVID-19 grants, but not PPP. RELATED: Over a dozen hate groups got PPP loans totaling $4.3 million, analysis reveals Some of the schools should not have been eligible for the money: 22 of the nonprofit companies that got more than $2 million in PPP loans for schools they run have...
    Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla addresses a press conference after a visit to oversee the production of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine at the factory of U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer in Puurs, Belgium April 23, 2021.John Thys | Pool | Reuters Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla received $24.3 million in total compensation for 2021, a 15% increase over the prior year as the company's full-year profit more than doubled with the successful rollout of its Covid vaccine. Bourla took home a cash incentive of $8 million on top of his salary of $1.69 million. He also received stock and options totaling $13.2 million as well as $1.38 million in other compensation. Bourla's total equity holdings, nearly 597,000 shares, are worth more than $32 million as of Thursday's closing price of $54.24. He's also entitled to a golden parachute valued at nearly $113 million as of Dec. 31, if the company is sold and he loses his job as a result. Bourla also received more than $336,000 for home security and more than $60,000 for air travel. His total salary is 262 times...
    NEW YORK (AP) — Before the pandemic, the theatrical and digital markets for entertainment were roughly similar in size. Last year, however, digital revenue was more than three times that of global box office, according to a new report by the Motion Picture Association. The MPA’s annual study of theatrical and home entertainment, published Monday, crystalized just how much streaming has come to dominate the media landscape. In 2021, the digital market accounted for 72% of the combined theatrical and home market. In 2019, digital accounted for $45.5 billion worldwide; last year it ballooned to $71.9 billion. Streaming services have led the boom. In 2021, streaming subscriptions rose to 1.3 billion globally, a 14% increase from the year before. In the United States, subscriptions grew at a similar pace to 353.2 million. According to Nielsen, the Pixar film “Luca” on Disney+ was the most watched movie of 2021, with more than 10.5 billion minutes streamed. The digital surge came at the same time the pandemic battered the theatrical business. While worldwide box office last year nearly doubled...
    During the first two years of the coronavirus pandemic, the collective wealth of billionaires in the United States grew by a staggering $1.7 trillion as Covid-19 killed millions of people across the globe and threw entire nations into turmoil, worsening extreme poverty, hunger, and other preexisting crises. Released Friday to coincide with the second anniversary of the World Health Organization's official pandemic declaration for Covid-19, the latest billionaire fortune analysis by Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) finds that the 704 billionaires in the U.S. now own more combined wealth than the 165 million people in the bottom half of the country's wealth distribution. "For billionaires, it's been two years of raking in the riches, while for most families it's been two years of fear, frustration, and financial worry," ATF executive director Frank Clemente said in a statement. The new analysis stresses that billionaires' pandemic windfall "may never be taxed" because it consists of unrealized capital gains, which are not subject to taxation under current U.S. law. As one possible solution, ATF voices support for Sen. Ron Wyden's (D-Ore.) proposed Billionaires...
    Congress leaders reached a $1.5 trillion deal in the early morning hours of Wednesday to fund the government ahead of Friday's shutdown deadline, also providing $13.6 billion to help Ukraine plus $15.6 billion for the covid pandemic. The House is expected to vote on the massive bill - it clocks in at 2,741 pages - on Wednesday and send it to the Senate. The legislation was released at 1:34 a.m. on Wednesday morning with the vote set for this afternoon, leading to some grumbles from Republicans about the short turn around time. The House will also vote on another stopgap spending bill that continues government funding at current levels through March 15 to give the Senate time to deal with the full-year package. No government shutdown is expected.  Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer release details of the federal budget early Wednesday morning Government funding package includes $13.6 billion to help Ukraine The budget package - known as the omnibus - funds the entirety of the federal government.  This year's bill shows a massive increase in spending in both military...
    In this article GPSSale signs are on display in the windows of a Gap retail location.Scott Mlyn | CNBCGap Inc. on Thursday projected that its first-quarter revenue would decline year over year after sales during the holiday period came in below pre-pandemic levels. Supply chain snarls remain a headache for the retailer, which also owns the Banana Republic and Old Navy brands. Gap Chief Executive Sonia Syngal said in a press release that the retailer faced near-term disruptions during its fiscal fourth quarter that "muted" overall performance. Gap sees revenue contracting in the first quarter by a mid-to-high single-digit rate compared with the prior year. Analysts had been looking for a smaller 3.8% drop. The comments from Gap echo a shared sentiment among other apparel retailers, including American Eagle Outfitters, Abercrombie & Fitch, Urban Outfitters and Victoria's Secret, which are facing headwinds from rising inflation to a lingering labor crunch to global unrest spurred by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Each of these companies spoke this week to recent troubles securing merchandise over the holiday season due to supply chain...
    PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Tuesday night, during the State of the Union address, President Joe Biden vowed to appoint a federal prosecutor to investigate and try to rein in billions of dollars in pandemic fraud. Some have called it the largest fraud in history. KDKA Investigator Andy Sheehan was first to report billions of dollars in theft from Pennsylvania’s unemployment compensation system and on Wednesday asked Gov. Tom Wolf what’s being done about it. READ MORE: Part I: Billions Of Dollars Of Unemployment Aid Stolen From State Likely Won’t Be RecoveredThe state concedes $6 billion in federal and state unemployment assistance has been stolen from Pennsylvania during the two years of the pandemic. Cyberthieves, primarily those from overseas, targeted Pennsylvania’s unemployment system, and the state Department of Labor and Industry puts the losses at $6 billion dollars, a figure that seemed to surprise the governor. READ MORE: Part II: Billions Of Dollars Of Unemployment Aid Stolen From State Likely Won’t Be RecoveredWolf: “That’s all across the country, right?” Andy Sheehan: “No, no, no. That’s in Pennsylvania.” No...
    In this article MRNAThe Moderna Covid-19 vaccine is prepared for administration ahead of a free distribution of over the counter rapid Covid-19 test kits to people receiving their vaccines or boosters at Union Station in Los Angeles, California on January 7, 2022.Frederic J. Brown | AFP | Getty ImagesModerna on Thursday said it expects to sell at least $19 billion of its Covid-19 vaccine this year, after reporting fourth-quarter earnings that blew out analysts' earnings and revenue estimates. Here's how the company performed compared to what Wall Street expected, based on analysts' average estimates compiled by Refinitiv: Adjusted EPS: $11.29 vs $9.90 expected Revenue: $7.2 billion vs. $6.78 billion expected Moderna's Covid vaccine is the company's only commercially available treatment. The two-dose vaccine, Spikevax, was fully approved for adults ages 18 and older in the last month by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Moderna is conducting a clinical trial for a booster shot that specifically targets the omicron Covid variant. However, it's unclear whether there will be...
    The Biden administration is asking Congress to approve another multibillion-dollar round of COVID-19 funding, even as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signals the country is moving into a new phase of the pandemic. At Wednesday's White House COVID task force briefing, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told reporters that the CDC is currently reviewing its mask guidance and hinted that an update might soon be announced. Walensky specifically said the review was a product of wanting "to give people a break from things like mask-wearing when metrics are better" and comes after a number of Democratic governors and mayors have recently dropped state masking mandates. BIDEN ADMINISTRATION PLANS TO EASE MASK GUIDANCE White House senior COVID-19 adviser Jeff Zients said at that same briefing that the administration had delivered 50 million of its free, at-home testing kits, 200 million individual tests in total, since launching its elective program earlier this year. Zients added that the U.S. is moving toward treating COVID-19 as a manageable illness rather than a crisis. However, the Department of Health and Human Services recently briefed...
    ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — America’s commercial casinos won $53 billion in 2021, their best year ever according to figures released Tuesday. The American Gaming Association, the gambling industry’s national trade group, released year-end figures showing that in-person gambling continues to be the main source of revenue for the gambling industry, even as internet and sports betting continue to grow in the U.S. The $53 billion won by casinos is more than 21% higher than the previous best year, which came in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic hit. They also show that many gamblers have not been deterred from visiting a casino in person, even during the pandemic, when highly contagious variants of the virus were surging. The casinos have spent millions on health and safety protocols to try to limit the spread of the virus. “These results are nothing short of remarkable,” Bill Miller, president and CEO of the association, said in a webinar to discuss the results. “The success of 2021 reflects our commitment to health and safety, and how Americans have welcomed gaming’s expansion across the country....
    A bipartisan team of lawmakers, Sens. Patty Murray and Richard Burr, want Congress to create a 9/11-style commission to investigate the origins of COVID-19 and how the Trump and Biden White Houses responded to the pandemic. The New York Times reported Friday that a draft proposal is being circulated around Capitol Hill for legislation that would create a 12-member body to 'get a full accounting of what went wrong during this pandemic,' Murray said.  It comes as The Washington Post reported that pandemic funds could run out, as $265 billion from the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund have already been allocated.  A bipartisan team of lawmakers, Sens. Richard Burr (left) and Patty Murray (right), want Congress to create a 9/11-style commission to investigate the origins of COVID-19 and how the Trump and Biden White Houses responded to the pandemic. Burr and Murray, who are the leaders of the Senate Health Committee, are getting broad and bipartisan support for their proposal now that Democratic President Joe Biden's COVID response can be scrutinized as much as former Republican President Donald Trump's.  Similar...
    HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania’s governor and his Democratic allies in the Legislature on Wednesday laid out a proposal to spend federal pandemic relief money on workers, environmental and climate change programs as well as a one-time property tax subsidy for lower-income homeowners and renters. The plan was announced less than a week before Gov. Tom Wolf is expected to present his 2022-23 state budget proposal to the Republican-majority General Assembly. Lawmakers would have to approve the spending for the plan to take effect. READ MORE: Live Winter Storm Tracker: Trifecta Of Rain, Ice, And Snow Expected To Arrive Throughout Western Pa.“We need to do something right now to address the needs of Pennsylvanians,” Wolf said at a news conference in the Capitol flanked by Democratic lawmakers. Wolf pointed out that the state still has $2.2 billion in federal money from the American Rescue Plan, signed by President Joe Biden last March. But, he said, the money is just “sitting around” and not helping people recover from the pandemic when it could do some good. Republican lawmakers, however, have maintained...
    In this article JNJThe Janssen Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.Allen J. Schaben | Los Angeles Times | Getty ImagesJohnson & Johnson on Tuesday projected that its Covid vaccine would generate $3 billion to $3.5 billion in sales in 2022, after posting a mixed fourth-quarter report that slightly beat on earnings' estimates but missed on revenue. Here's how they performed compared with what Wall Street expected, based on analysts' average estimates compiled by Refinitiv: Adjusted EPS: $2.13, vs. $2.12 expected. Revenue: $24.8 billion, vs. $25.29 billion expected CFO Joseph Wolk told CNBC a strengthening dollar negatively impacted top line sales by $150 million to $200 million. Hospital staffing shortages caused by the omicron Covid variant also generated uncertainty in the company's medical devices business, particularly with elective procedures, Wolk said. The consumer health division was hit by supply constrains in raw materials, labor shortages among third party manufacturers and higher transportation costs, he added. "We think the second half of 2022 will be stronger than the first half," Wolk told CNBC's Meg Tirrell on "Squawk Box." "But...
    The Chinese coronavirus pandemic helped create 20 new Asian billionaires across China, India, Japan, and Hong Kong between March 2020 and March 2021, Oxfam, a British-founded anti-poverty charity, revealed in a report published on Wednesday, the Guardian reported. “By March 2021 there were 20 new Asian ‘pandemic’ billionaires (from China, Hong Kong, India and Japan) whose wealth came from equipment, pharmaceuticals and services needed for the pandemic response,” according to the report published on January 12. “These include Li Jianquan and family, whose firm Winner Medical makes masks and personal protective equipment for health workers, and Dai Lizhong, whose company Sansure Biotech has produced COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] tests and diagnostic kits,” Oxfam detailed. Li Jianquan, 65, is a Hong Kong citizen who resides in Shenzhen, China. He chairs Winner Medical, which is a supplier of “disposable wound care and surgical products,” according to Forbes. The U.S. business magazine listed “Li Jianquan & family’s” net worth as $4.2 billion on January 14. Winner Medical started producing cotton-based medical dressings, such as bandages and gauze products, in China in 1991. The company...
              by Joe Mueller   Out of dozens of lines showing millions of dollars for Missouri’s supplemental budget, one sticks out in House Bill 3014. There are 25 lines, each representing a department or office in Missouri government, requesting a 5.5% cost of living adjustment for all state employees. Gov. Mike Parson announced the increases and a base pay of $15 per hour in December. But the largest line – $2.1 billion – asks the legislature to approve federal COVID funds for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Margie Vandeven, DESE commissioner, said approving the funding as soon as possible will provide school districts throughout the state with financial resources to address four main areas – learning acceleration after test scores showed learning loss during the pandemic, providing additional mental health services, addressing poor access to broadband resources, and improving teacher recruitment and retention. “I plead with you to get additional funds to go forward,” Vandeven told the House Budget Committee on Wednesday. “We’ve been working on this for a couple of years now. We have a very detailed plan and I...
              by Joe Mueller   Missouri’s Department of Economic Development (DED) recently previewed how Gov. Mike Parson plans to allocate the state’s $2.6 billion portion of federal pandemic funds. In late December, Maggie Kost, acting director of the DED, outlined major priorities for Missouri’s portion of the more than $195 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. A total of $350 billion will be delivered to the 50 states and the District of Columbia and local and Tribal governments throughout the nation to support the response and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The total amount of ARPA funds, passed in March 2021, is $1.9 trillion. “We want to give you an idea of what to expect as we get into the legislative and budget session here in January,” Kost said. “As you’re planning and setting priorities locally for communities, we want to make sure you have an idea of what’s to come so you can think about how to leverage state funds as you’re building out your local priorities.” Parson is expected to reveal his allocation of ARPA funds during...
    Covid infections are ballooning. Cases were up to 405,000 a day last week— 60 percent higher than January 2020, the previous high. Deaths and hospitalizations have not yet kept pace, but there are worrying signs. Hospitalizations in Illinois hit their highest levels yet; covid patients occupy a quarter of all hospital beds. They are 41 percent of intensive care patients. Some counties have 90 percent or more of hospital beds occupied. Other areas are also seeing worrisome surges. Hospitalization of children hit record levels at year’s end. The latest covid crisis is being spurred by the omicron variant, which may be the fastest spreading virus in history, according to experts. It was first detected in South Africa, thanks to its rigorous testing, but we don’t know where it originated. We do know that variants are inevitable during pandemics. Viruses mutate over time and they mutate more quickly when they are circulating unchecked. This means everyone has an interest in reducing spread everywhere. Eradicating it within national boundaries is insufficient when variants can develop anywhere. The US should be...
    The state of Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) shelled out as much as $8.5 billion in fraudulent unemployment claims during the pandemic, according to an audit released Wednesday. The audit was conducted by Deloitte and Touche LLP and revealed the state paid an estimated $8.4 billion – $8.5 billion in fraudulent claims between March 1, 2020 – September 30, 2021. The report notes that the state avoided paying an estimated $43.7 billion in illegitimate claims over the time period. In total, the state received an estimated $52.1 billion – $52.2 billion in fraudulent imposter and fraudulent misrepresentation claims between March 1, 2020 – September 30, 2021. Michigan’s UIA Director Julia Dale told the Detroit Free Press her first reaction to the report was “outrage.” “When you look at the numbers here, to say that they’re troubling is an understatement,” Dale explained. “I’m frustrated by those who are out there willing to take advantage of the system.” Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency paid up to $8.5B to fraudulent claims, report shows https://t.co/RqQLUweFuk — Detroit Free Press (@freep) December 29, 2021 At its peak, the UIA...
    The state of Michigan paid up $8.5 billion in potentially fraudulent claims from the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 to September of this year, according to a report released Wednesday.  According to an audit for the state's Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) carried out by the firm Deloitte,  between March 2020 and September 2021, the state paid approximately $8.4-8.51 billion in possibly fraudulent claims.  The report also found that out of $52.2 billion in attempted fraudulent claims, the UAI prevented the release of $43.7 billion dollars to fraudsters. However, they did not succeed in stopping bad actors from retrieving the remaining amount, according to the firm.  "It's extremely disheartening that bad actors have defrauded the much-needed benefits intended for hard-working Michiganders and the scale of their actions is stunning," said Julia Dale, the director of the UIA, in a statement. Following the report's findings, Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerMichigan Republican John James 'strongly considering' House run Defense seeks dismissal of indictment in Whitmer kidnapping plot case Chris Christie tries again MORE (D) rolled out two executive orders on Wednesday, creating the Unemployment Insurance Fraud Response...
    LANSING, Mich. (CBS Detroit/AP) — Michigan likely paid about $8.5 billion in fraudulent or improper jobless benefits over a 19-month period during the coronavirus pandemic, far more than previously estimated, according to a report released Wednesday by the state Unemployment Insurance Agency. The figure, provided by Deloitte & Touche, came more than a year after the firm said the agency expected fraud losses in the “hundreds of millions” of dollars. State auditors have since reported that the agency improperly paid $3.9 billion to claimants who were later deemed ineligible. READ MORE: Man Arrested After Fleeing Monroe County Deputies In Stolen School BusThere is “some overlap” between those payments — made to self-employed and gig workers who began qualifying for federal aid because of the pandemic — and the overall $8.5 billion estimate, said UIA Director Julia Dale. “My initial reaction to seeing these numbers is one of outrage and certainly frustration,” she told The Associated Press. “These are not the type of numbers that we had hoped to see or want to see.” READ MORE: Gov. Whitmer OKs Extending Development...
    The U.S. Secret Service announced Tuesday that criminals used fraudulent COVID-19 relief applications and other means to steal nearly $100 billion in pandemic benefits. “The Secret Service currently has more than 900 active criminal investigations into fraud specific to pandemic-related relief funds,” Roy Dotson, the assistant special agent in charge of the national fraud investigation, said in a statement. “That’s a combination of pandemic benefits and all the other benefits programs too.” The criminals took advantage of several pandemic relief programs established by the CARES Act, the agency said, which included the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses and direct stimulus payments to individuals. Funds administered through statewide unemployment insurance were also stolen. (RELATED: Australian Police Recapture Three Teens Who Escaped COVID Quarantine Compound After Manhunt. They All Tested Negative) Hear from Special Agent Roy Dotson, the federal coordinator for COVID-19 relief fraud for the Secret Service in an effort to get ahead of fraudsters taking pandemic relief funds. https://t.co/exTYgMZqAY — U.S. Secret Service (@SecretService) December 21, 2021 “Every state has been hit, some harder than others,” Dotson...