Michigan Democrat returns $5,000 of COVID-related funds, calls out 'individual with ulterior motives'

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A Democratic state representative in Michigan has "voluntarily" returned thousands of dollars she received as part of the relief funds issued after the government-imposed COVID lockdowns.

The case relates to Kristian Grant, a first-term Democratic state representative from Grand Rapids. As a small business owner, Grant submitted multiple applications for funds from the Kent County Small Business Recovery, which sprung from the federal CARES Act following the COVID lockdowns. Grant was ultimately granted $15,000.

However, a subsequent review of her applications revealed discrepancies among the documents. In one tax filing, Grant reported that her Game Plan Lifestyle Planner business had generated nearly $4,300 in sales in 2019. In another filing, she indicated that the 2019 sales revenue for that business was a paltry $205.

Grant initially blamed the mistake on confusion created because some orders placed in 2019 were not delivered until 2020.

County officials told her she could keep all the money, so long as she submitted updated tax returns. And according to Kent County Administrator Al Vanderberg, she claimed to have filed the amended returns last May.

But a subsequent review of those materials conducted earlier this month revealed that, in fact, no such amended returns were ever filed.

Grant then decided to return $5,000 of the COVID-related funds, indicating in a statement that she just wanted to put the issue behind her. "Despite no findings of fraud or wrongdoing on my part, I made the decision to voluntarily return the $5,000 grant awarded to Game Plan Lifestyle Planner through the Kent County Small Business Recovery Fund," she said.

"While I did rely on a professional to assist in preparing my tax return, I take full responsibility for the oversight and believe returning the funds is the right thing to do," she continued. She now considers the matter to be "fully resolved."

In her statement, she also made reference to "an individual with ulterior motives" who seems to carry a grudge against her. This individual "stoked" county officials into reviewing her applications, she claimed.

County Administrator Al Vanderberg said that his office was just doing its due diligence in Grant's case. "As stewards of taxpayer dollars, we take our responsibility seriously," he said in a statement. "We have thoroughly addressed the issues brought to our attention regarding Rep. Grant’s applications and subsequent funding. We remain steadfast in upholding the highest standards of accountability and transparency."

Vanderberg confirmed that Grant has returned the funds. He also added that his office, which rejected about 30% of its COVID-related applications, believes that all other grantees are legitimate.

"We have received no additional challenges and have no reason to believe there were problems with other applications."

State Rep. Kristian Grant returns $5,000 in COVID funds www.youtube.com

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Republican 'China Lied, People Died' bill would make communist Chinese regime pay for America's pandemic costs

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Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas) introduced a bill Thursday aimed at holding the Chinese communist regime accountable for the COVID-19 pandemic, which has reportedly claimed the lives of over 1.1 million Americans.

If passed in the Republican-controlled House, the "China Lied, People Died" Act (H.R.566) would "prohibit the availability of Federal funds for programs, projects, or activities in the People's Republic of China until amounts made available for COVID-19 relief in the United States have been reimbursed, and for other purposes."

"My first order of business this Congress is holding China accountable," Nehls told Fox News Digital. "The Chinese Communist Party [CCP] is singlehandedly responsible for the loss of a million lives in the United States and causing one of the worst economic disasters in the history of our country."

Nehls added, "With a Republican majority, we will work to force the CCP to pay back the $4.6 trillion in Congressionally appropriated funds, as well as the $16 trillion of American taxpayer dollars that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic."

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Co.) has co-sponsored the bill.

Nehls introduced a House resolution on Jan. 9 in the same spirit as H.R.566, which has been referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs. The proposed resolution states:

  • "the coverup of COVID-19 by the ... Chinese Communist Party has caused significant economic harm around the world and has cost the United States economy $16,000,000,000,000";
  • "the global median gross domestic product dropped by 3.9 percent from 2019 to 2020, making it the worst downturn since the Great Depression";
  • "the Chinese Communist Party’s calculated coverup, including reporting inaccurate numbers of infections and deaths, enabled COVID–19 to go global";
  • "the COVID–19 pandemic increased extreme poverty between 88,000,000 and 93,000,000 in 2020"; and
  • "over 1,000,000 Americans have died as a result of COVID–19."

For these and other reasons, the Texas congressman believes China should be held financially responsible.

The guilty party

Republicans on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence issued a report in December noting that it was "plausible" that Chinese military researchers possessed the COVID-19 virus "as part of bioweapons research" prior to its release into the world as a consequence of a safety incident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology."

An October Senate report indicated that natural origins claims now appear untenable and that the "COVID-19 pandemic was, more likely than not, the result of a research-related incident."

Beyond its possible culpability over the potential manufacture and release of the virus (i.e., at the Wuhan Institute of Virology lab), Chinese authorities also delayed warning the world about the emergence of the deadly disease, going to great lengths to silence doctors like the late Lie Wenliang, who had tried to raise the alarm.

Communist officials waited until Dec. 31 to alert the World Health Organization, then claimed, "The disease is preventable and controllable."

A Five Eyes intelligence dossier accused the CCP in May 2020 of engaging in an "assault on international transparency" to the "endangerment of other countries," reported the New York Post.

The intelligence dossier indicated that the genocidal Chinese regime had scrambled to bury evidence of the virus and its origins, "destroying" lab samples, censoring evidence of spread, and denying sample requests from other countries.

British conservative politician Bob Seely said in response, "At the end of this when the dust settles it is also clear that there has to be a re-evaluation by the West of its relationship with China."

The Department of Homeland Security intelligence service indicated in early 2020 that the CCP simultaneously covered up the outbreak while hoarding critical medical supplies and cutting other countries off of items believed necessary to tackle the virus, reported NBC News.

"We assess the Chinese Government intentionally concealed the severity of COVID-19 from the International community in early January while it stockpiled medical supplies by both increasing imports and decreasing exports," said the May 1 DHS report.

Extra to possibly birthing the virus, covering it up, and taking advantage of other nations it left in the dark, the CCP also locked down domestic travel internally while knowingly allowing infected Chinese citizens to travel internationally.

The New York Times reported that while Chinese officials began locking down Hubei province, home to Wuhan, they nevertheless continued to permit international travel ahead of the Lunar New Year, when hundreds of millions of people were expected to travel back to their hometowns.

175,000 people left Wuhan on Jan. 1 alone.

Seven million people left Wuhan in January before travel was restricted, thousands of whom the Times indicated were infected. Thousands successfully made it to cities around the world. 900 reportedly made it to New York; 2,200 to Sydney, Australia; and tens of thousands more to various other cities.

Flights out of Wuhan weren't cancelled until late January 2020.

The Weekend Australian reported that a 2015 document written by Chinese, communist, military scientists and senior public health officials described SARS coronaviruses as ushering in a "new era of genetic weapons."

The document notes that such viruses can be "artificially manipulated into an emerging human ­disease virus, then weaponized and unleashed in a way never seen before."

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5 'bad actors' in IRS stole COVID relief money, spent it on trips to Vegas, shopping sprees: Report

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Five current and former IRS agents have been accused of fraudulently applying for COVID relief funds from the federal government, then using that money for lavish spending sprees.

According to reports, five agents in the greater Memphis, Tennessee, area have been accused of applying for more than $1 million total from the the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, which were made available for small businesses devastated by the COVID-19 government shutdowns of 2020. In all, the Department of Justice says, the suspects actually received just over $400,000.

Thus far, two of the individuals have been indicted and three have reached plea agreements with prosecutors. The DOJ claims that:

  • Brian Saulsberry, 46, applied for $500,000 in loans and received more than $170,000. He allegedly purchased a Mercedes-Benz with some of the money and placed the rest of it in an investment account. He has been charged with two counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering.
  • Courtney Quinshe Westmoreland, 38, applied for over $32,000 in loans and received $11,500. She has also been accused of collecting over $16,000 in unemployment benefits, even though she was an IRS employee at the time. She has been charged with three counts of wire fraud.
  • Fatina Hewitt, 35, admitted to making fraudulent claims about businesses under her control in order to apply for nearly $350,000 in relief loans. She ultimately received $29,000, which she spent on a trip to Las Vegas and a Gucci shopping spree.
  • Tina Humes, 56, admitted to applying for $134,000 and receiving $124,000, which she also spent on a trip to Vegas as well as jewelry.
  • Roderick DeMarco White II, 27, admitted to applying for $113,000 and receiving nearly $67,000.
Both Saulsberry and Westmoreland face up to 20 years in prison for each wire fraud charge and 10 years for each money laundering charge. Hewitt, Humes, and White each pled guilty to one count of wire fraud and likewise face up to 10 years in federal prison.

It is unknown whether any of the accused are connected to each other in some way. They have each been charged separately.

Though there is no indication that the suspects used their position as IRS agents to secure an advantage in the PPP/EIDL loan process, IRS officials acknowledge that their alleged participation in the scheme puts the entire agency in a bad light.

"The IRS employees charged in these cases allegedly abused the trust placed in them by the public," said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department's Criminal Division.

"This matter demonstrates the brazenness with which bad actors have taken advantage of federal programs meant to help those who suffered most from the COVID-19 pandemic," added Kevin Chambers, the director of COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement.