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How billions in pandemic aid was swindled by con artists and crime syndicates

by Kit Ramgopal, NBC News


When investigators raided a strip mall store in Garden Grove, California, in December, they found a line of customers snaking around the parking lot and huge stacks of cash inside the store.

Orange County prosecutors say Nguyen Social Services was charging up to $700 a pop to file false unemployment claims for people who did not qualify to receive Covid-19 relief money.


The brazen fraud was part of an overall scheme that cost taxpayers an estimated $11 million, prosecutors say.

“This isn’t just an Orange County problem. It isn’t just a California problem,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “This is a breakdown of catastrophic proportions that has failed the American taxpayer.”

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