Investigation finds 15 inmates used PPP loans to get out of jail

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Several people in Illinois are back behind bars after police discovered they used APP money to get out of jail.

An investigation revealed that 25 people had been arrested during an undercover operation targeting those who fraudulently received Paycheck Protection Program funds without owning a business in Joliette. Of those 25, police say 15 requested and used the funds solely to get out of jail.

Inmates used prison phones to complete the PPP loan process while still incarcerated, receiving anywhere from $19,000 to $20,000. Once the money, which usually took days to be received, reached the designated bank accounts, the inmates quickly posted bail. In accordance with PPP loan guidelines, recipients accused of crimes are not eligible to receive the funds. No commercial license was found for any of the applicants.

“Some of the targets pulled out of their crime business within days of receiving their fraudulent PPP loan,” William Evans, Chief of Police of Joliet said at Wednesday’s press conference.

Bank statements confirmed that the money had been received and used to pay the obligations.

The Paycheck Protection Program was launched as a remedy for struggling business owners during the COVID-19[feminine] pandemic. In response to business closures and entrepreneurs struggling to stay afloat, many applications have been approved with little or no review process, which has made it extremely accessible to fraudsters to obtain PPP loans. In many cases, the loans have been cancelled. In fact, fraud is so prevalent that PPP loans have been added to a list of high fraud risk government programs.

The defendants all face new charges of wire fraud, theft and loan fraud.

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