In an effort to prosecute those who fraudulently received government payments geared at assisting small companies during the COVID-19 pandemic, President Biden has signed a pair of bills into law. This will allow the Justice Department to have ample time to investigate and charge those individuals.
The new laws are The Paycheck Protection Program and Bank Fraud Enforcement Act and the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Fraud Statue of Limitations Act. They set in place 10-year statues of limitations for criminal charges and civil enforcement.
“American people deserve to know that their tax dollars are being spent as intended,” Biden stated. “…You can’t hide. We’re going to find you. We’re going to make you pay back what you stole and hold you accountable under the law.”
The PPP assisted small businesses with paying their workers after being closed down during the pandemic. EIDL grants and loans provided money to small businesses for working capital and other usual operational costs.
In October 2020, $78.1 billion in possibly fraudulent EIDL loans and grants were said to have been given out. Another $6.7 billion in loans and grants were connected to supposed identify theft.
In 2021, over 70,000 PPP loans were identified as possibly fraudulent and totaled $4.6 billion.
The Inspector General has stated that the push to make payments swiftly for the Small Business Administration contributed to the lessening of monitoring to prevent fraud.
Biden has stated that these new laws will help Americans trust the government again. He also placed the blame on Trump’s office for allowing the deception to take place.