Criminals are laundering illegally obtained funds meant for Covid-19 relief through the most popular apps for legally sending and receiving money, law enforcement officials say.Cash App, Venmo, Zelle and PayPal have become portals to easily move money, making transactions more difficult to trace.“I’ve never seen, in my 28 years’ experience, the amount of fraud that I’ve seen currently,” Roy Dotson, an assistant to the special agent in charge of the Secret Service, told CNBC. “And I think that’s just based sheerly on the amount of money the CARES Act allocated into Covid-related fraud and stimulus.”Dotson said fraudsters find so-called “money mules” to deposit funds into the apps, then move them from one account to the other in an effort to hide the source of the funds. He described the volume of fraud as “inevitable” based on the size of the program.Roy Dotson, assistant to the special agent in charge of the Secret Service.CNBC“Just the amount of money, you’re going to have different criminal organizations and individuals, basic scam artists, that are going to try to take advantage of that money,” he said.The Secret Service has 700 pending investigations related to the Paycheck Protection Program and the Unemployment Insurance Relief program.


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