The Justice Department has announced the arrest of more than 50 individuals who committed fraud to obtain money from the paycheck protection program.
“These charges in conjunction with charges previously brought by the Criminal Division’s fraud section since early May of this year, bring the total number of defendants charged by the criminal division with PPP related fraud to 57,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Rabbitt.
“These numbers are revealing. The cases we have charged involve attempts to steal over 175 million dollars from the PPP and actual losses to the federal government of over 70 million dollars.”
The PPP program provided loans of up to $10 million for small businesses to help them recover from the government-ordered shutdowns and revenue losses caused by the virus.
The average loan amount for the entire program was $107,000, the Treasury Department said in a broad summary of the program.
The loans can be forgiven if businesses mostly use the money to continue paying workers.
The program initially was set to expire June 30 but was extended last week to Aug. 8, with $132 billion still available.
“The money these defendants stole was taxpayer money,” said Rabbitt.
“Every dollar received was a dollar drawn from the American people’s account. Even worse, every dollar they took was a dollar that we had all set aside to help our fellow Americans weather one of the worst national crises in recent history. And as we allege, these defendants tried to steal those funds for themselves.”
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