Thousands of California homeowners who fell behind on mortgage payments during the COVID-19 pandemic could receive relief grants as part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s $1 billion plan that was federally approved on Monday.
The U.S. Department of Treasury on Monday backed Newsom’s $1 billion mortgage relief grant program, clearing the way for its launch in just a few weeks. The governor estimates that between 20,000 to 40,000 California homeowners could benefit from the program, dubbed the California Mortgage Relief Program.
“We are committed to supporting those hit hardest by the pandemic, and that includes homeowners who have fallen behind on their housing payments,” Newsom said in a statement Monday. “No one should have to live in fear of losing the roof over their head, so we’re stepping up to support struggling homeowners to get them the resources they need to cover past due mortgage payments.”
While public housing residents suffer from a plethora of issues, the chief of New York City’s troubled Housing Authority made more than half a million dollars last year — more than the mayor and governor combined.
The $515,000 paid to Vito Mustaciuolo, general manager and chief operating officer of NYCHA, was more than any other municipal employee, news outlet The City reported.
NYCHA residents face serious problems in their apartments and buildings, from elevators that are chronically broken, to heat and hot water that disappear for days or weeks, to bug infestations, to mold infestations, and toxic lead that have spurred lawsuits and a federal monitor to oversee the agency.
Nearly $100 billion at minimum has been stolen from COVID-19 relief programs set up to help businesses and people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic, the U.S. Secret Service said Tuesday.
The estimate is based on Secret Service cases and data from the Labor Department and the Small Business Administration, said Roy Dotson, the agency’s national pandemic fraud recovery coordinator, in an interview. The Secret Service didn’t include COVID-19 fraud cases prosecuted by the Justice Department.
While roughly 3% of the $3.4 trillion dispersed, the amount stolen from pandemic benefits programs shows “the sheer size of the pot is enticing to the criminals,” Dotson said.
Most of that figure comes from unemployment fraud. The Labor Department reported about $87 billion in unemployment benefits could have been paid improperly, with a significant portion attributable to fraud.
The Secret Service said it has seized more than $1.2 billion while investigating unemployment insurance and loan fraud and has returned more than $2.3 billion of fraudulently obtained funds by working with financial partners and states to reverse transactions. The Secret Service says it has more than 900 active criminal investigations into pandemic fraud, with cases in every state, and 100 people have been arrested so far.