SBA’s Guzman on Biden’s small biz plans, and why ‘it’s not too late’ to tackle fraud

During his State of Union address Tuesday night, President Joe Biden touted his plans for the economy, as well as his plans to combat fraud and identity theft rife in pandemic relief programs like the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

The COVID pandemic relief programs disbursed more than $800 billion over two years by the government to help small businesses stay afloat. The loans, which helped owners use that money to pay for payroll and other eligible expenses, also led to widespread instances of the money being misused or misallocated.

As the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) goes after scammers who have falsified paperwork to obtain forgivable loans meant to give small businesses a leg up, the Biden administration’s top small business official insisted her agency would lend a hand in rooting out fraud and malfeasance.

“We continue to uncover the perpetrators. And so [we] will continue to pursue them,” SBA Administrator Isabella Guzman, told Yahoo Finance Live in an interview this week.

That’s something that’s ongoing and I don’t think it’s too late to continue to investigate and explore those cases of fraud,” she added.

Biden’s new special prosecutor will have “heightened resources” to “enact enhanced penalties” to those that fraudulently stole PPP money and unemployment insurance benefits.

So far, the Justice Department has charged 474 defendants with pandemic related fraud, alleging that more than $569 million was illegally obtained.

Data from Accountable.US, a…

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