A Rhode Island man, acting with a man from Massachusetts, is the first in the country to be accused of defrauding the Paycheck Protection Program. The men falsely applied for more than $500,000 in forgivable loans from the Small Business Administration, with federal charges including: conspiracy to make false statements to influence the SBA and to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft. They applied for loans for businesses that had no employees and for businesses that the applicants did not even own. Sadly, these men attempted to capitalize on the crisis this nation is facing and steal from the very same small businesses this program was put in place to assist.
Of interesting note is that the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Rhode Island State Police, and Attorney General’s Office are also investigating reported fraudulent unemployment claims at the Department of Labor and Training.
As we’ve seen throughout the past few months, this pandemic has brought about the best in some people and, unfortunately, the worst in others.