A hacking group linked to the Chinese government is responsible for stealing millions of dollars of pandemic relief money, according to a report by NBC News.
Roy Dotson, national pandemic fraud recovery coordinator for the Secret Service, said that the group, APT41, is a "notable player" in the agency's more than 1,000 ongoing investigations into COVID-19 fraud.
The Secret Service called the group a "Chinese state-sponsored, cyber threat group that is highly adept at conducting espionage missions and financial crimes for personal gain." It has been operating for about ten years.
APT41 began going after COVID relief funds in 2020 and targeted around 2,000 accounts associated with over 40,000 financial transactions. The Secret Service said the agency has recovered about half of the $20 million stolen by the group.
Officials are concerned that the group may still have the ability to gain backdoor to access government servers.
Grand juries in 2019 and 2021 brought charges against five members of the group. However, none of the charges are related to the pandemic relief fund theft allegations.