According to a report released by the Pandemic Response Committee, 69,323 Social Security Numbers were used by the fraudsters to obtain over $5 billion in covid benefits.
In response to the growing number of fraudulent accounts being submitted through the government's financial relief programs, the PRACA released a fraud alert. The programs, which include the COVID-19 EIDL and the PPP, provided over $1 trillion in aid to small businesses during the pandemic.
Breaking news: The U.S. government may have awarded $5.4 billion in covid aid to businesses using potentially ineligible Social Security numbers, watchdog finds https://t.co/xE7EoKwa22
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) January 30, 2023
The report noted that the data scientists of the committee came across numerous suspicious covid benefit disbursements. They were able to identify the potential fraudsters by examining over 33 million applications for EIDL and PPP. They then asked the Social Security Administration to provide them with verification information on over 200,000 of the social security numbers used in the applications.
The number of Social Security Numbers used by the fraudsters to obtain covid benefits has increased to 175,768. These numbers were used in various applications for financial assistance, which were not approved by the Small Business Administration.
The relief programs for COVID-19 were authorized by the CARES Act of 2020. The agencies tasked with distributing the aid, such as the Small Business Administration, immediately started working on the distribution of the funds, which made them more vulnerable to fraud.
In total, the Small Business Administration provided over $400 billion in loans and EIDL assistance to over 11 million small businesses during the course of the pandemic. The applications for the PPP ended on May 31, 2021, and those for the EIDL closed on January 1, 2022.
On Wednesday, the House Committee on Oversight will hold its first hearing regarding the abuse and fraud related to the COVID-19 programs.
The preceding is a summary of an article that originally appeared on Daily Caller.