Failed Government Oversight Opens the Door For Fraud

Last week, the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis released an analysis identifying “multiple areas of potential waste and fraud” in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Today, the House and Senate are back in session, but across the country, fraudsters are still taking advantage of the program’s poor oversight and mismanagement, from one Massachusetts man who faked his own death ahead of PPP fraud charges to a Floridian who used 700 synthetic identities.  

As PPP fraud cases continue to rise, minority-owned businesses are shutting down at alarming rates and a new analysis finds that rental companies that received PPP aid are fueling the looming eviction crisis. 


HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE REPORT OUTLINES PPP’S FAILURES

NBC News | Congressional investigation finds over $1 billion in coronavirus aid fraud

“Over $1 billion in emergency coronavirus aid relief went to companies that “double dipped” and received multiple Paycheck Protection Program loans in violation of the program’s rules, according to a preliminary analysis released Tuesday by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. Congressional investigators identified multiple areas of potential waste and fraud in the program, often referred to as PPP, which was part of the $2 trillion CARES Act.” 

USA Today | Report: Thousands of PPP loans went to small businesses that should not have received them 

Accountable.US | $3 Billion of Wrongly Used PPP Funds: Where is the Urgency? 

Reuters | Thousands of small-business loans may have been fraudulent, US House panel finds 

@Accountable_US | “With the release of today’s House panel report, we now know that $1 BILLION dollars of taxpayer money was given to fraudsters. Yes, you read that correctly.” [View Tweet


PPP FRAUD ROUNDUP

@Accountable_US  | “Fraud has been rampant in the Trump administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (#PPP).  We’re tracking incidents of fraud across the nation — here are some of the recipients who took from small businesses in need…” [View Twitter Thread]  

Fox Business | Foreign agent for China gets PPP loan of at least $150K 

San Francisco Chronicle | Prosecutors: Florida man spent virus relief funds on boat 

Nevada Appeal | Nevada man charged with fraud, taking $500,000 in virus funds 

CBS Tampa Bay | Florida Men Charged With Using 700 Synthetic Identities To Exploit Covid-19 Relief Programs 

Fox Business | Feds indict Massachusetts man who allegedly faked his own death amid PPP fraud charges  

ABC Salt Lake City | 64-year-old Salt Lake City man pleads guilty to federal fraud of PPP loan 


BUSINESSES IN COMMUNITIES OF COLOR CONTINUE TO BE LEFT BEHIND  

New York Times | Small-Business Failures Loom as Federal Aid Dries Up 

“The challenge has been particularly acute for Black-owned businesses, which were more than twice as likely to close down in the early months of the pandemic than small businesses over all, according to research from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Black-owned businesses were more likely to be in areas hit hard by the virus, had less of a financial cushion and were less likely to have established banking relationships, which put them at a disadvantage in seeking loans under the emergency Paycheck Protection Program in the critical first weeks that the aid was available.” 

Houston Chronicle | Opinion: Don’t leave Hispanic businesses out of COVID-19 recovery, for Houston’s sake 

Big News Network | Widespread discrimination against Black-owned businesses in U.S. 

Next City (Opinion) | Big Banks Profit from White Supremacy. They Should Return PPP Fees to Black and Latino Communities  

GovExec | Coronavirus Roundup: Report Finds ‘Gross Inequity’ in Pandemic Contracts, White House to Redirect WHO Dues 


MNUCHIN TESTIFIES IN FRONT OF THE HOUSE  

Newsweek | Republicans, Steve Mnuchin Shrug Off Billions in Potential PPP Loan Fraud 

“Secretary Mnuchin has previously testified that, given the need to get relief money out quickly, it was inevitable that Treasury ‘ran into a lot of issues.’ That is a false dichotomy,” Clyburn said. “Taxpayers should not have to choose between quickly getting aid to those who need it and wasting federal funds, and there are simple steps that could have been taken to improve oversight and reduce fraud.” 

Fortune | Mnuchin: standalone PPP ‘easiest’ way to get more help to struggling small businesses  

Questions Unanswered: Accountable.US | Questions Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Must Answer On Pandemic Response 

Newsweek | Mnuchin Blames Unemployment on Democratic States Not Reopening 


NEW REPORT: RENTAL COMPANIES THAT TOOK PPP MONEY PREPARE TO EVICT TENANTS  

Accountable.US | Rental Companies That Took PPP Money Are Fueling Looming Eviction Crisis, Watchdog Analysis Finds 

“A new analysis from government watchdog Accountable.US finds that least three rental companies that have benefited from the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) – each having taken between $5 and $10 million in taxpayer money – have been busy filing eviction and debt collection cases against struggling tenants during the pandemic.” 

@Accountable_US | “Yesterday NV, PA, and VA’s eviction moratoriums expired. Dozens of states’ protections have *already* expired. And rent is due today. 

Millions of housing insecure Americans who have suffered losses of jobs and loved ones could now lose their homes as well. #EvictionCrisis…” [View Twitter Thread