15 People Arrested After Allegedly Using PPP Loans To Pay Jail Bonds
(TheRedWire.com) – On March 29, 2020, Congress enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The measure established the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which included $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses. Essentially a grant, Congress designed the program to help employers retain workers during lockdowns and pay for other business expenses. In April 2020, lawmakers approved an additional $300 billion in PPP funding. Still, it appears the money found its way to some who didn’t qualify. On Wednesday, September 21, Illinois police arrested 15 people who applied for PPP loans and used them to pay for jail bonds.
Investigators said inmates at the Will County Jail allegedly applied for the forgivable business loan, then paid bonds to get themselves out of detention. There were two problems. First, those with felony charges weren’t eligible to qualify for PPP. Second, officials stated several individuals set up fake businesses to scam the government for the money. Police arrested 15 people and charged them with wire fraud.
PPP = Prisoner Paycheck Programhttps://t.co/AKUoxIK2bI
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) September 22, 2022
Detectives said they couldn’t establish a link between the individuals and a legitimate business. Most of them used a house address, and police conducted spot checks on the residence. After determining that none likely existed, they checked city records to determine if there was a business license, which also came back negative.
Unfortunately, PPP fraud wasn’t isolated to this incident. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz stated the program was an open invitation for fraud.
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