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Justice Department Sees Early Fraud Signs in SBA Loan Flurry

  • U.S. requests data from 15 to 20 of the largest PPP processors
  • Data shows firms overstating payroll, criminal chief says
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Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
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The Justice Department has begun a preliminary inquiry into how taxpayer money was lent out under the Paycheck Protection Program and has already found possible fraud among businesses seeking relief, a top official said.

Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski, who runs the department’s criminal division, said prosecutors have contacted 15 to 20 of the largest loan processors and the Small Business Administration, which oversees one relief program, as part of an effort to police the trillions of dollars in federal aid being pushed out hastily to blunt the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.