House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is teeing up votes on a number of big issues this week, including a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and possibly up to $3.5 trillion in spending on a wide range of areas from climate change to child care. Both bills, which still face uphill battles before becoming law, would remake broad swaths of the U.S. economy.

They would also become irresistible targets for fraudsters, explains Jetson Leder-Luis, who studies fraud in public spending at Boston University. That’s what happened with the trillions spent to support the economy during the pandemic. It’s estimated that a program intended to support small businesses, for example, may have lost 10% of the $792 billion doled out to fraud, he adds.

“Research shows there are measures that can effectively fight fraud in government spending, like increased government anti-fraud lawsuits,” Leder-Luis writes. “The problem is lawmakers don’t always make preventing fraud a priority.”

Also today:

Lastly, we’re wrapping up our back-to-school fundraising campaign today to support the work we do in creating and distributing fact-based, timely and interesting journalism. If you haven’t yet given, we would appreciate if you would become a sustaining donor or give a one-time gift. Thank you!

Bryan Keogh

Senior Editor, Economy + Business

The Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge was part of Boston’s Big Dig, which was infamous for its cost overruns. AP Photo/Steven Senne

Trillions in infrastructure spending could mean hundreds of billions in fraud

Jetson Leder-Luis, Boston University

Congress is inching closer to passing as much as $4.5 trillion in new infrastructure and social spending, which would be an attractive target for fraudsters.

Ethics + Religion

Science + Technology

Environment + Energy

Politics + Society


Arts + Culture


From our International Editions

Today's Graphic