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The federal government doled out $1.3 billion in forgivable coronavirus loans to people whose applications were submitted from foreign IP addresses, according to a new Small Business Administration Inspector General report.
The Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs), which were in effect grants, were supposed to be for U.S. businesses which were unable to pay their employees because of coronavirus. But the hemorrhaging of huge amounts of government spending all at once was accompanied by significant fraud, with the government having little opportunity to vet applicants.
“The numerous applications submitted from foreign IP addresses are an indication of potential fraud that may involve international criminal organizations,” the report said.
The government was supposed to have blocked foreign computers from accessing the online form to apply for federal money, but that didn’t happen, the report found.
“Neither SBA nor its contractor knew how so many applications were able to subvert [the] Firewall,” it said. As a result, 41,638 grants were paid out.
The payments included nearly 500 grants from the notorious online-scammer hub of Nigeria and a similar amount, totaling $50 million, from Pakistan. Two-thousand grants totaling $160 million came from Mexico, and $143 million worth came from India.
The Biden administration also removed anti-fraud measures to make it easier for people to get money.
“Prior to April 20, 2021, the written procedures required the loan officer to automatically deny the loan [when computer systems flagged Suspicious Online Behavior]. SBA revised the written procedures on April 20, 2021, reversing the automatic denial,” the report said.
Along those flagged as high-risk, loan officers only reviewed about half of them, the IG review found.
The SBA told its inspector general that “The $1.3 billion identified by the OIG that originated from applications submitted from a foreign IP address represents less than .04 percent of the more than $342 billion approved by SBA for COVID EIDL advances and loans.”
But the IG countered that “$1.3 billion in taxpayer funds to individuals or businesses that should not have received it is significant… it is concerning that $1.3 billion intended to assist small businesses during the pandemic potentially funded illegal activities worldwide.”
Part of the contractor’s software also failed to fit IPv6 records, which are longer numbers than older IP addresses and are common in some countries, which limited the ability to track applicants, the report said.
The glut of federal money during the coronavirus pandemic, which was in part designed to mitigate the effects of government-mandated lockdowns, contributed to inflation. But not all of the money went to bona fide businesses.
The Daily Wire previously reported that one prostitute frequented by Hunter Biden received a $20,000 coronavirus check through the PPP program for her “female owned sole proprietorship,” listing it as being in the sector of “Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers.” Emails on Hunter’s laptop show that much of the prostitute’s money went to drugs.
Another individual listing the same address as that prostitute also received a PPP loan on May 5, 2021 even though she appears to have been in prison for credit card theft until late 2019.
On May 26, the SBA’s Inspector General said the levels of fraud present in the PPP program were “unprecedented,” and that SBA “did not have an organizational structure with clearly defined roles, responsibilities, and processes to manage and handle potentially fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans across the program. In addition, the agency did not establish a centralized entity to design, lead, and manage fraud risk. This problem occurred because the agency did not establish a sufficient fraud risk framework at the start of and throughout PPP implementation.”