|(27 Jan 2021)
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) made more criminal referrals to federal
prosecutors at the Department of Justice in FY 2020—a total of 91—than any year in the past two
decades. Referrals began increasing in April 2020 after efforts began to
identify those who submitted fraudulent bank loans under the Paycheck Protection Program
(PPP) established by the CARES Act. SBA referrals also remained higher than usual during the first
three months of FY 2021 (October - December 2020).
In fact, between April 2020 and the end
of December 2020, a total of 102 new referrals were made.
Just what proportion of recent referrals reflect alleged fraud under the CARES Act is uncertain
since specific details of these referrals will only become public once prosecutions actually are
filed. But the timing of this upsurge in referrals as well as details on cases already being filed
suggest that alleged fraud in applications for COVID relief was a major driving force. These
early results are based on case-by-case government records on SBA referrals obtained and
analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University
after successful litigation that required their release.
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