Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Demonstrators against the ongoing war in Gaza block traffic on Interstate 880 in Oakland, Calif., on Monday. (Brontë Wittpenn/San Francisco Chronicle/AP)

The U.S. government may lose between $233 billion and $521 billion to fraud each year, according to a rough federal estimate, the first of its kind, released Tuesday.

But the author of that report - the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office - simultaneously cautioned that its new figure is incomplete and imprecise because of a lack of reliable data and the inherent challenge in uncovering sophisticated schemes to steal federal funds.

The watchdog, known as GAO, computed its estimate by studying the federal budget between the 2018 and 2022 fiscal years, spanning the Trump and Biden administrations and the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, when Democrats and Republicans alike provisioned historic aid that scammers repeatedly targeted.


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