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Comptroller forms work group to examine Maryland's COVID-19 spending

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Posted at 9:03 AM, Apr 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 09:03:17-04

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Comptroller Peter Franchot is forming a work group to review the state's COVID-19 spending.

The work group will be tasked with fully inspecting if pandemic funds went to intended recipients and populations most in need, by examining distribution disparities, potential fraud, and profiteering.

“The billions of dollars in federal and state aid has been essential for individuals and small businesses to survive the debilitating economic effects of the global pandemic, but we must make sure these dollars are being properly spent and bringing the greatest benefit to as many Marylanders as possible,” Comptroller Franchot said. “At the same time, we need to determine if theft of taxpayer dollars has occurred through fraud and ensure that companies did not unjustly profit from pandemic aid while our friends and neighbors have been financially decimated.”

The group will begin meeting biweekly in May. All sessions will be live streamed and archived.

Meeting topics will include unemployment insurance fraud, pandemic profiteering by large corporations, the legislative audit on the purchase of COVID-19 test kits from South Korea, emergency procurement practices and access to relief funds by small businesses and low-wage earners.

The work group will submit four quarterly reports that include a full accounting of funds provided for pandemic relief and any fraud uncovered through the panel’s review of pandemic-related spending.