Fraud Basics

PPP’s complicated rules blurred lines between fraud and honest mistakes

U.S. government tries to separate crooks from the innocent

Many U.S. businesses willingly defrauded the government’s Paycheck Protection Program loan program. But PPP’s byzantine procedures, applicants’ mistakes and some banks’ disinterest might have inadvertently caused well-meaning applicants to receive money they shouldn’t have. Now investigators must sift the wheat from the chaff.

Did your favorite restaurant close during the pandemic? If it didn’t, it might be because it received an injection of cash from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) temporary Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Many businesses defrauded the program; we’ve all heard stories of ill-gotten Lamborghinis and gaudy mansions. But many more stayed alive because of the emergency taxpayer money. Now that COVID has eased, government investigators must not only investigate the crooks but also well-meaning applicants who might have received money they shouldn’t have because of their honest mistakes trying to wind through PPP’s convoluted rules. 

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