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Howie Carr: Panic is over, not the payouts

The COVID Panic will officially end May 11 – more than three months from now, so that the feds can keep funneling hundreds of billions more in free funny money to the non-working classes and undocumented Democrats.

They’ve squandered more than $4 trillion so far on the biggest scam ever, and it’s breaking the Democrats’ hearts to even think about finally ending any of them.

What a boondoggle the Panic has been – millions of government hacks paid to do nothing, bloated food-stamp payments, extra welfare of all kinds, rent and student-loan moratoriums, so-called, not to mention the condoning of those “mostly peaceful” looting and arson sprees in the name of equity.

Someday, I believe, history may regard the COVID scam as a greater disaster for American society than the War on Poverty, or even the Great Depression.

The destruction of the nation’s work ethic, millions of businesses destroyed for no reason, a generation of young people whose educations were ruined, rampant drug and alcohol abuse, the end of any faith in government after years of officially sanctioned government lies….

In a related development, a House committee this morning will begin hearings on the “rampant waste” on assorted pandemic programs.

I hope the solons have set aside a lot of time. I mean, a lot of time, because there’s never been anything like the level of flim-flams and grifts encouraged by the government over the last three years.

You can check out the U.S. attorney’s website – any U.S. attorney’s – to get a small idea of how endemic this fraud has been. The amazing thing is, you sometimes find out about COVID welfare programs you never heard of that were ripped off for millions, maybe billions.

Here’s an example: did you ever hear of the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) for health-care professionals? Well, an accountant for a Hyannis dentist did, and he stole $52,000 as part of a larger $1.2 million embezzlement.

As with all types of crime, a wildly disproportionate amount is committed by illegal aliens.

Here’s a “Boston man” who stole $65,000 from another handout program – Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). The name of the “Boston man” is Wilson Radhames Peguero Brea, age 53, and he pleaded guilty to “fraudulently representing that he was a U.S. citizen.”

In other words, he wasn’t a “Boston man” at all. But he was a COVID fraudster.

The reports about the billions – trillions? – in COVID fraud come out on an almost daily basis. Here’s a headline yesterday from The Hill:

“Almost 70K ‘questionable’ Social Security numbers used for $5.4B in pandemic-related loans: watchdog.”

When the relief programs with the “forgivable” loans were announced three years ago, it was like blowing a dog whistle that only fraudsters could hear.

I personally knew the first guy arrested in the U.S. for scamming the biggest boondoogle of them all – the Payroll Protection Program (PPP). He was already an ex-con, a radio guy from the Cape. When he was lugged in Providence, he’d just gotten out on parole for earlier scams involving, among other things, bank fraud, diamonds and a minor-league baseball team.

I knew him as Kurt Sanborn, but now he’s locked up at Devens under the name of David Staveley, BOP #04230-049. His release date is July 13, 2024.

This former employee of WXTK on Cape Cod wasn’t the only local recidivist fraudster to dip his crooked snout into the free-money trough. There’s a guy named James Joseph Cohen, age 59, of Wenham, who pleaded guilty to stealing $1.2 million in PPP funds.

I mentioned this case on my radio show and somebody texted me that this Cohen used to be known as Jamie Edelkind. Under the name Edelkind, Cohen had been convicted twice, according to the feds, “including a 2005 conviction for bank fraud.”

He got 60 months and was ordered to pay $3.2 million in restitution, “much of which remains unpaid,” the complaint noted.

All you needed to get a “forgivable” PPP loan was an officially incorporated business. Now, a lot of businesses are briefly incorporated, but then go under after a brief time. The bust-out owners then stop paying what in Massachusetts is the $500 annual filing fee for corporations.

Guess what happened in 2020, when the feds blew that dog-whistle for the David Staveleys of the world? There was a stampede on the MA secretary of state’s office, as all the “dissolved” corporations were suddenly recreated, in order to… well, you know what.

Politicians rushed to the front of the line when the feds started handing out barrels of cash, no questions asked. Dementia Joe Biden likes to talk about $186,000 (which he sometimes calls $186) that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green collected for her business.

However, Brandon somehow never mentions a company known as EDI Associates, in which Paul Pelosi has an 8.1 percent interest.

Pelosi’s company was “forgiven” its $1.7-million “loan.”

Some local derelict ex-pols did pretty well with this largest welfare program of all time. I remember a former legislator a couple of years ago bragging that his wife had just scored $12,000 for her tiny business.

“Putting in a new bathroom!” he said.

I keep a file with recent headlines and stories:

“’Deplorable’: Ex-Stonecrest (GA) mayor gets 57 months in COVID fund fraud case… Two California fugitives flee FBI to luxury Montenegro exile…. Rapper Nuke Bizzl pleads guilty to $1.2M COVID relief fraud after bragging in video… Queens mail carriers busted in alleged $16M fraud scheme….”

Most of these scammers spent the money on drugs, gambling, Bentleys – important stuff, in other words.

Consider one Vinicius Santana, 34, of Boca Raton FL, formerly of Revere, who was convicted of stealing $2.5 million in PPP funds. He got three loans claiming to have three employees in a home-care company. After realizing how there was absolutely nobody minding the store, on his fourth loan he claimed 154 employees.

According to the feds’ press releases, in addition to the usual real estate and luxury cars, Vinicius “invested in cryptocurrency.”

Cryptocurrency… or kleptocurrency, a la Sam Bankman-Fried? Is it possible that one scam artist was swindled by an even bigger con man? As the original Flim Flam Man used to say, “You can’t cheat an honest man.”

Easy come, easy go, even when you’re talking $4 trillion. Maybe especially when you’re talking $4 trillion.