FBI Springfield Hosts Paycheck Protection Program / Economic Disaster Loan Fraud Task Force – FBI
The Fairview Heights Resident Agency, part of the FBI Springfield Field Office, organized a task force made up of federal partners, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI) and the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General (SBA- OIG) to combat Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Disaster Loan Fraud (EIDL).
The PPP and EIDL are part of the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) law designed to provide financial assistance to millions of American businesses during the pandemic. PPP loans help businesses keep their workforce employed during the pandemic. The loan proceeds are to be used for salary costs, mortgage interest, rent, utilities and other limited property damage and operating costs as specified in the program.
The EIDL program is designed to provide economic relief to small businesses that experience a temporary loss of revenue, with the revenue being used to cover a wide range of working capital and normal operating expenses.
Criminals fraudulently apply for these loans or target the funds after they have been disbursed. This type of fraud can involve business owners who have inflated their salary expenses to obtain larger loans, fraudsters who create fake companies and false identities, and organized criminal networks who submit identical loan applications under different company names. The ill-gotten money is then used for personal gain.
The PPP / EIDL Fraud Task Force, formed in conjunction with the FBI, IRS-CI, and SBA-OIG, will combine resources to target this escalating threat at an unprecedented rate and obtain data and insights. critical evidence to identify PPP fraud.
“Unfortunately, when a crisis arises as a result of a natural disaster or a global pandemic such as COVID-19, there are individuals in our society who will take advantage of the situation to defraud those in need of programs. government economic relief as a way to line their own pockets. We have seen several patterns related to the COVID-19 crisis. Beware of anyone seeking personally identifiable information or financial information, in person or online, to facilitate requesting or accessing government funds. The FBI and our partners are committed to protecting the American people and the integrity of government aid programs. We will relentlessly prosecute those who exploit government aid funds and use them for personal gain at the expense of the taxpayer. Our investigative partnerships will lead to jail terms for these criminals, “said FBI special agent Springfield, Sean M. Cox.
“Our mission is to combat the exploitation of programs designed to help those in need. The IRS-CI has successfully investigated PPP and EIDL frauds, identifying millions of stolen funds, ”said Amanda Prestegard, Acting Special Agent in charge of the IRS-Criminal Investigation Field Office in St. Louis. . “The IRS-CI will continue to partner with the FBI and SBA-OIG to aggressively prosecute those who commit CARES law fraud. “
Experience shows that the cooperation of public-private partnerships is one of the FBI’s best allies in maximizing awareness and visibility of suspicious conduct, including the misuse and abuse of taxpayer funds. If you suspect PPP / EIDL fraud, contact the Springfield FBI at 217-522-9675 or submit advice to advice.fbi.gov or IRS.gov or SBA-OIG anti-fraud hotline.