DC Man sentenced to 10 years for stealing PPP

Pandemic flight

• The US Department of Labor’s inspector general estimated that people stole $45.6 billion from the nation’s unemployment insurance program during the pandemic. Fraudsters reportedly filed unemployment insurance claims in multiple states. The OIG believes that some of the scammers used the social security numbers of deceased people and people locked up in prison.

• A DC man has been sentenced to a decade in prison for attempting to steal $31 million in COVID-19 relief funds. The U.S. Attorney for DC said that Elias Eldabbagh successfully stole $2.4 million through the Paycheck Protection Program and attempted to steal tens of millions more in a scheme where he used a stolen identity to cover up his crimes. He reportedly used the funds to buy a Tesla, invest in speculative stock options and cryptocurrencies, and pay rent and dog boarding, among other expenses. Eldabbagh pleaded guilty in April and was sentenced to prison this week.

Pooper Scoops

DC joined the CDC’s National Wastewater Surveillance System in December 2020, but has yet to release data on a citywide system to detect COVID-19 in its wastewater. People can excrete COVID-19 in their feces, so sewage monitoring can help determine levels of community spread. DC Health told DCist they were “close” to submitting data to the CDC, but declined to give a specific date. DC Health cited delays in receiving funding and equipment as well as issues with the diagnostic lab that contracted with the CDC as reasons for the program delay. Similar programs in Maryland and Virginia are already underway.

Two years of painstaking work undone in 60 minutes

In an interview on 60 minutes last sunday president Joe Biden declared, much to the surprise of his own health advisers, that “the pandemic is over”. The World Health Organization, for its part, disagrees, and 400 to 500 Americans still die every day. And some fear his statements will diminish his administration’s ability to continue to fight the virus, especially amid a campaign to encourage people to get vaccinated again. The CDC estimates that 4.4 million Americans got the updated booster designed to target the omicron variant.

Mitch Ryal (mryals@washingtoncitypaper.com)

Credit: Darrow Montgomery
  • Deputy Chancellor of DC Public Schools Melissa Kim resigns amid allegations that she is verbally abusive and has created a toxic work environment. [Informer]
  • The new metro map has just dropped. [Twitter]
  • Mental health experts will accompany police officers and subway operating staff to respond to emergencies. Crisis intervention specialists are trained in de-escalation tactics and recognition of mental health issues. [DCist]

By city ​​paper Personal (tips? editor@washingtoncitypaper.com)

Credit: Courtesy of ANC 3D
  • Mayor Muriel Bowser says it has complied with a key provision of a sweeping criminal justice reform bill, the NEAR Act, and created behavioral health teams to accompany police on certain calls. But DC Auditor Kathy Pattersonward council member 5 McDuffie from Kenyaauthor of the NEAR Act, as well as families of people who died after experiencing mental health emergencies, believe Bowser did not go far enough to meet the requirements of the law. [WJLA]
  • There hasn’t been a Republican on the Council in 15 years (and the National Party has damaged the mark locally), but the GOP keeps trying in DC politics. Notable contenders include David Krucof in the race of district 3 and Giuseppe Niosi in the at-large contest. [DCist]
  • A new bill mainly supported by At-Large Councilmember Christina Henderson aims to streamline background check requirements for new teacher applicants, a major factor in the school system’s current staffing shortage. [WTOP]

By Alex Koma (tips? akoma@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • 3 Star Brewery it is for sale. [Washingtonian]
  • Chief Gerald Addison (of Maydan and Bammy’s) is behind a new downtown Italian restaurant Grazie Nonna. [Eater]
  • Look at all the stuff coming to the dock in phase 2: two angry boss spots Gordon Ramsaytraditional chinese cuisine Philippe Choufast and casual pizzeria Slice of matchbox, Coffee with milk and honeyand more. [Axios]

By city ​​paper Personal (tips? editor@washingtoncitypaper.com)

Credit: Courtesy of TCCB
Credit: Darrow Montgomery
  • As if there wasn’t enough going on this weekend between Art All Night, NEXTfest and Theater Week, you can also catch “Opera on the Field” at Audi Field on Sunday. [WTOP​]
  • Wondering about the current Phillips Collection exhibit, Jacob Lawrence and the Children of Hiroshima? Get answers here. [Post]

By Sarah Marloff (tips? smarloff@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • John Wall opened up about his struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts, and how he overcame them, in a deeply personal essay: “Being a product of your environment is not a bad thing. But I think it’s a blessing and a curse. Being a dog, being unbreakable, always having that chip on your shoulder – hey, I get it. I have has been this guy. But the day will come when you can no longer do it yourself. And you have to be strong enough that day to ask for help. [Players Tribune]
  • DC bars will be allowed to remain open for 24 hours during the month-long World Cup tournament, which kicks off next month in Qatar. [DCist]

By city ​​paper Personal (tips? editor@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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