The Small Business Administration gave $1.3 billion in COVID-19 disaster relief to applicants with foreign internet addresses, indicating possible international criminal organization involvement, the agency’s inspector general found.
While the Small Business Administration blocked more than 110,000 applications from six countries deemed to be “high risk,” the system did not block all applications from foreign nations, the inspector general’s report, published Monday, found. For example, over 33,000 applications were submitted from Nigeria and 241 were approved, giving applicants in the African nation nearly $20 million.
While the approval rate of applications from Nigeria was below 1%, applicants had a higher success rate in other countries such as Mexico (21%), Canada (18%), and India (16%).
The fraud continued through the Biden administration.
The ranking member of the Small Business Committee, GOP Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, said that The Small Business Administration “is not outfitted with the necessary infrastructure to manage large-scale and direct loan programs such as EIDL.”
The potential fraud detailed in the report, however, extended through the first 10 months of the Biden administration, and EIDL applications stopped in January. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R., Mo.), ranking member of the Small Business Committee, said the inspector general report shows there are still insufficient measures in place for the agency to track down fraud.
“The SBA is not outfitted with the necessary infrastructure to manage large-scale and direct loan programs such as EIDL,” Luetkemeyer told the Free Beacon. “With the already challenging task of recovering fraudulent funds now compounded with potential foreign criminal elements, the SBA requires significant programmatic reforms to prevent even more losses.”
Over a billion gone, and it sounds like not a lot is happening to get it back.