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    Billions of dollars meant to help people cope with the pain of the pandemic disappeared in fraud schemes big and small, and the government is only now taking stock of how extensive the abuse became. The Justice Department charged 48 people this week with operating a massive fraud ring in Minnesota that drained $240 million from a pandemic hunger program intended to feed children. Dozens of people allegedly made up names and ages for children they claimed to have fed, then pocketed the money for those fake meals. While the scale of the scheme was unusual, the approach was not. So much money flowed to programs with so little oversight that people all over the world managed to siphon off piles of cash that the government is unlikely ever to recover. “Congress failed to implement any tracking, accountability, [or] oversight into any of the programs, any of the funding that they issued over the last three years,” Deborah Collier, vice president for policy and government affairs at Citizens Against Government Waste, told the Washington Examiner. “It’s just nonexistent.” WATCHDOG IDENTIFIES...
    A secret service agent.Julia Nikhinson | AP The U.S. Secret Service returned $286 million in fraudulently obtained pandemic aid loans to the Small Business Administration, the agency announced Friday. The funds sent back to the SBA were obtained via the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program using both fabricated information and stolen identities. The suspects used Green Dot Bank, a fintech institution, to hold and move the fraudulent funds. More than 15,000 accounts were used in the conspiracy, by individuals in the U.S. as well as domestic and transnational organized crime rings, the agency said. Investigations are ongoing and further information about suspects was not immediately released. The investigation was initiated by the Secret Service field office in Orlando, Florida and Green Dot bank worked with the agency to identify the fraudulent accounts. "Fraudsters in general are always looking for ways and techniques to better do their crimes and modern conveniences are just one of those things they use. So currently, cryptocurrency is a big thing, fintechs, third party payment systems. But there's not an institution, even our traditional financial...
    A congressional panel Tuesday will examine payouts under a federal coronavirus pandemic aid program intended to help small businesses weather the COVID-19 outbreak amid revelations that as much as 20% of the money may have been awarded to fraudsters. The problems in the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, overseen by the U.S. Small Business Administration, included a finding by congressional investigators that some 1.6 million applications for the loans may have been approved without being evaluated. Separately, the SBA’s Office of the Inspector General estimated that at least $80 billion distributed from the $400 billion program could have been potentially fraudulent, much of it in scams using stolen identities. The program is expected to be at the center of a congressional subcommittee hearing that also will tackle broader fraud concerns with the flood of pandemic aid from multiple federal government programs for states, local governments, businesses and the unemployed. The $5 trillion in total aid, delivered in a series of bills signed by Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden, have come with numerous complications. Fraud overwhelmed enhanced unemployment insurance...
    PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona man faces four years in prison after pleading guilty to falsely claiming non-existent employees and business revenues when applying for $3.5 million in federal pandemic relief loans in 2020. Officials said he used some of the money to buy a Porsche and a home. The sentence imposed last Thursday for James Theodore Polzin, 48, of the Phoenix suburb of Gilbert included an order for him to pay over $2.2 million in restitution. According to federal officials, Polzin used a portion of the proceeds of the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster loans for his own personal benefit, including the car and home purchases, and for “stashing money offshore.” “This defendant defrauded a program intended to assist hardworking Americans who have been unfairly impacted as a result of this unprecedented and challenging health crisis,” said Scott Brown, special agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Polzin pleaded guilty last fall to wire fraud and transactional money laundering. Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not...
    NEW YORK (AP) — Small businesses still have the pandemic and now high inflation to grapple with — and they’re finding it’s tough to get a loan to help with the daily grind. A recently released survey from the Federal Reserve shows how the pandemic has altered the financial landscape for small business. About 85% experienced financial difficulties in 2021, up nearly 20 percentage points from 2019. Back then, more than half of owners who sought a loan were looking to expand; last year, the majority of applicants needed funds just to cover every day operating expenses. Meanwhile, inflation is the highest in decades, with raw materials and finished goods soaring in price and workers demanding higher wages. The Federal Reserve is raising interest rates in response, which means the cost of borrowing money is going up. Even in normal times, it can be tough for small businesses to get loans from traditional banks because they lack the assets and credit histories of bigger companies. During the pandemic, banks have been stingier, outside of COVID-related programs. Two...
    The word “public” is an important part of charter school messaging. They’re not privatizing public education, they tell us, they’re “public charter schools.” And yet a USA Today investigation finds that charter schools got at least $1 billion in Paycheck Protection Program loans because they are private businesses. (Disclosure: Kos Media received a Paycheck Protection Program loan.) The PPP loans were forgivable for businesses that didn’t lay off workers after getting the money. But some businesses needed them more than others, and charter schools were not at the top of the list, since they do receive substantial public funding. USA Today found that 93% of the charter schools receiving PPP loans also got their usual public money, and the schools also were eligible for federal COVID-19 grants to support social distancing. Actual public schools were eligible for the COVID-19 grants, but not PPP. RELATED: Over a dozen hate groups got PPP loans totaling $4.3 million, analysis reveals Some of the schools should not have been eligible for the money: 22 of the nonprofit companies that got more than $2 million in PPP loans for schools they run have...
    OAKLAND (CBS SF) — An Oakland woman who pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining pandemic relief funds and using the proceeds to fund a lavish spending spree, including high-end automobiles and private jet travel, was sentenced to three years in prison Thursday. Christina Burden, 36, was originally charged on February 3, 2021 in a federal complaint alleging bank fraud in obtaining funds from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL), using shell companies, according to a press statement from U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California Stephanie Hinds. READ MORE: UPDATE: Vallejo Police Arrest Teen Suspect in Recent Fatal ShootingBurden pleaded guilty to two counts of bank fraud and two counts of money laundering. In her plea agreement, Burden admitted registering multiple fictitious businesses with the California Secretary of State, then providing fake documents on the business operations to qualify for PPP or EIDL loans. According to the complaint, Burden fraudulently claimed she had 89 employees and a monthly payroll of more than $700,000 in her fictitious businesses, according to government documentation. Burden attempted to...
    A Tarzana couple and family member who operated a massive COVID-19 relief fraud ring have been captured in Montenegro after fleeing the United States, a law enforcement source confirmed to The Times on Wednesday. Richard Ayvazyan and his wife, Marietta Terabelian, sliced off their electronic monitoring bracelets and vanished in August after they were convicted in June. Ayvazyan, 43, was sentenced in absentia to 17 years in prison for leading a fraud ring that stole $18 million in a scam to secure emergency pandemic loans meant for small businesses upended by lockdowns. Terabelian, 37, was sentenced to six years. CaliforniaFor Subscribers Diamonds, gold, luxury homes: Inside one L.A. family’s $18-million COVID-19 fraud A San Fernando Valley family was caught creating fake businesses to get pandemic disaster loans, then spending the money on houses, gold and diamonds. Tamara Dadyan, the wife of Ayvazyan’s younger brother, vanished Jan. 28, after U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson gave her 30 days to turn herself in, over the objections of federal prosecutors who said they had no faith she could...
    Valesky Barosy, 27 (pictured) was charged with five counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, and one count of aggravated identity theft Federal prosecutors have accused a 27-year-old Haitian immigrant of fraud after he used ill-gotten COVID relief money to buy millions in luxury items such as a Lamborghini Huracán EVO, designer suits and watches from Rolex and Hublot. Valesky Barosy, 27, sought out more than $4.2 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans, falsifying his prior-year expenses, net profit, payroll and IRS tax forms in each application, according to the Department of Justice.  He was paid out approximately $2.1 million.  On December 29, Barosy made his first appearance in federal magistrate court to face five counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, and one count of aggravated identity theft.  If he is convicted, he could face a prison sentence of up to 132 years. Valesky Barosy, 27, flaunted his ill-gotten wealth on social media. He was fraudulently paid out $2.1 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans, according to the Department of Justice On social media, Barosy draped...
    A group of Democratic House members is demanding answers from the Small Business Administration following a The Daily Beast report that top anti-vaccine groups received more than $1 million in free cash through an initiative intended to help struggling entrepreneurs survive the pandemic. The Daily Beast received a missive that Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) sent SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman on Monday, questioning whether the half-dozen disinformation superspreaders—including supplement hawker Joseph Mercola and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.—who had Paycheck Protection Program loans absolved this year had fulfilled all the requirements of the program. These requirements, Sanchez noted, include refraining from political activity. The anti-inoculation activists maintained to The Daily Beast at the time of the original story that they were in complete compliance. “Several of these individuals and their organizations received loans in the first round of PPP availability while many small, family-owned businesses were unable to access the program,” wrote Sanchez. “Some groups—who continue to profit from COVID-19 and vaccine disinformation—have received taxpayer dollars to assist them in spreading misinformation that’s prolonging the pandemic, taking lives, and preventing small businesses...
    CAKE Boss star Buddy Valastro took out over $2.3million in PPP loans for his bakeries during the pandemic despite having an estimated net worth of $10million.  The Sun can exclusively reveal Buddy, 44, took out 17 PPP loans, which is a business loan program for relief aid during the coronavirus pandemic, for a total amount of $2,382,317. 5Cake Boss star Buddy Valastro took out over $2.3million in PPP loans for his bakeriesCredit: Getty 5Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey received two loans for $114,107Credit: Google Maps Carlo’s Bakery Cake Headquarters in Jersey City, New Jersey was approved for a PPP loan in April 2020 for the amount of $493,439. The location received another loan during the second round for $493,437 in February 2021.  Buddy, whose real name is Bartolo, listed “payroll” for 50 jobs when asked how the loan will be used.  The Hoboken, New Jersey location, received $114,107 for the first round in April 2020 and the same amount for the second round of loans in February 2021 towards payroll for 26 jobs and utilities. The April 2020 loan...
    TEEN Mom star Kailyn Lowry took out two separate PPP loans of over $48,000 for two of her businesses, despite the reality star's millionaire status. Kail took a loan for Kailyn Lowry LLC which is connected to her Coffee Convos podcast and another for her Pothead CBD haircare line.   7Teen Mom star Kailyn Lowry took out two PPP loans for two of her businesses in 2020Credit: Instagram 7Kail took out loans for the company thats connected to her podcast and for her haircare lineCredit: Instagram Paycheck Protection Program loans are given to small business owners to help them pay employees during the coronavirus pandemic.  Independent contractors and self-employed people can get the loans - which means that technically reality stars and influencers are eligible as they list their work as Independent Artists, Writers and Performers.  The 29-year-old MTV star, whose estimated net worth is reportedly around $1 million, took out a federal Paycheck Protection Program loan for Kailyn Lowry LLC for $31,018 which was approved in April of 2020.  On the loan, Kail reported that her intended use for the funds was...
    More On: fraud $400B in pandemic unemployment fraud: DC can’t let it happen again Half of pandemic unemployment money reportedly may have been stolen Former Olympic figure skater charged in $1.5M COVID relief scam Man impersonated Trump family to raise thousands of dollars, feds say A Chinese national living in New York pleaded guilty Tuesday to attempting to bilk several banks and the US government out of $20 million in COVID-19 relief loans. The fraudster, who went by the names Muge Ma and Hummer Mars, copped to one count of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft for his Payment Protection Program scheme in Manhattan federal court, prosecutors said. He faces a maximum of 30 years in prison. Ma applied for the loans, which were designed to help struggling small businesses amid the pandemic under the CARES Act, at five banks, the feds said. He told the lenders that he was the owner of two companies, which he said employed hundreds of people and paid out millions of dollars a month in wages....
    SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) — Two 66-year-old brothers pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to making false statements to a financial institution in separate schemes to defraud the federal government of more than $2 million in pandemic relief funds. Caesar Oskan, of San Rafael, and Ester Ozkar (also known as Eser Ozkay), of Novato, admitted as part of their guilty pleas that between March 2020 and June 2020 they each submitted multiple separate fraudulent applications for Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Paycheck Protection Program loans, in a scheme to defraud the Small Business Administration and the banks handling the paycheck loans. Both loan programs are designed to help businesses survive during the Covid-19 pandemic. READ MORE: Mountain Lion Captured Alive In San Francisco Bernal Heights Neighborhood In his written plea agreement, Oskan admitted that he obtained $1,006,004 in fraudulent paycheck loans and $713,500 in fraudulent disaster loans and advances. In Ozkar’s plea agreement, he admitted that he obtained $474,132 in fraudulent paycheck loans and $9,000 in disaster advances. “Pandemic relief funds are limited and intended to save legitimate struggling businesses from...
    Three men from Texas and Oregon were charged in an apparent scheme to get $14 million from COVID-relief loans. According to a Tuesday press release sent out by the United States Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York, the three men — Apocalypse Bella, Mackenzy Toussaint, and Amos Mundendi — were charged for trying to obtain government guaranteed loans designed to provide relief to small businesses during the pandemic.  The three men were involved in the scheme to submit fraudulent applications to the Small Business Administration (SBA) and to at least one company which processes loan applications under the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in order to get the sum amount.  “As alleged in the indictment, the defendants in this case are charged with fraudulently securing loans intended to help honest small businesses and their employees deal with the pandemic’s economic effects,” FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said in the statement. Our actions should serve as a reminder of our steadfast commitment to bringing justice to those who would seek to illegally leverage government programs for selfishly...
    Miami : The Chief of the United States Southern Command, Craig Faller, warned of the strengthening of the dominions of China and Russia in the region due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the admiral, these nations of they took advantage of the crisis “to enter our neighborhood.” “This region is our neighborhood, it is directly linked to us in all areas. A threat to our neighbors is a threat to the United States; and an opportunity for our neighbors is an opportunity for us to make our neighborhood stronger together ”, he highlighted. Through a statement, Faller explained his position on the alleged actions that communist countries want to take globally. Available online: Download #SOUTHCOM‘s 2021 Posture Statement document. https://t.co/uKmW59lsfd pic.twitter.com/HDMGrQGZZd – US Southern Command (@Southcom) March 16, 2021 Loans “The strategic perspective of the People’s Republic of China with more than 40 ports in operation, important loans as political leverage and predatory practices in illegal fishing are weakening the democratic institutions of this hemisphere” Within this order of ideas, he stressed that “to obtain more access, presence...
    Reuters March 15, 2021 0 Comments  The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) mistakenly paid out $692 million in duplicate small-business pandemic relief loans because of technical errors and other mistakes, the agency’s internal watchdog said on Monday. Lenders participating in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) distributed the cash to 4,260 borrowers who had already received funds due to multiple technical glitches within the SBA’s loan processing systems, which struggled to process the volumes of loans, the SBA Inspector General wrote in a report. Reuters first reported in June that technical snafus had led the SBA to approve thousands of duplicate loans potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Under the program, lenders dish out government-backed loans to small businesses on behalf of the SBA. If borrowers use the funds for intended purposes like keeping staff employed, they keep the money and the government pays the lender back. The watchdog did not say how much if any of the $692 million mistakenly distributed by lenders had subsequently been reimbursed by the government. It initially said it would only guarantee one...
    Emergency loans to small businesses during the pandemic in the United States have been added to the list of public programs highly susceptible to waste, fraud or embezzlement. The most common type of these loans, the PPP, is granted with low interest and can be canceled under certain conditions, such as a certain percentage going to payroll. It was Congress that created those loans, which have become extremely popular with stores and restaurants and other small businesses trying to survive the pandemic. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported Tuesday that millions of small businesses have benefited from these credits, but that they were developed at a speed that limited the possibility of equipping them with risk safeguards, ” including the susceptibility of improper payments and the potential for fraud ”. The Federal Agency for Small Business Development made or guaranteed more than 14.7 million loans and grants worth about $ 744 billion between March and December. Congress approved other emergency loans worth $ 304 billion in December. GAO indicated in its report that as of January it continued to experience...
    A singular crisis has led to extraordinary relief options for borrowers. Interest and payments have been paused on federal student loans. Homeowners can request nearly a year of mortgage forbearance. Credit card issuers and other lenders dramatically expanded hardship programs. Still, many Americans say they took on more debt last year because of the pandemic, according to NerdWallet’s household debt survey. If you are one of them, or if you have other household debt that’s been put on hold, you may not want to rush to pay that money back even if you can. The COVID-19 crisis and its economic fallout are far from over, so you’ll want to be strategic when dealing with pandemic-related and other debt. STUDENT LOANS ARE STILL ON HOLD President Joe Biden extended federal student loan forbearance until October and during his campaign proposed canceling $10,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower. If you could benefit, consider not making any extra student loan payments while you wait to see what happens. Paying off student loans probably shouldn’t be your top priority anyway. More important...
    Reuters January 26, 2021 0 Comments The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) on Tuesday said it had approved 400,000 more pandemic relief loans worth $35 billion and was trying to fix issues operational snags with the program raised by lenders. The SBA launched the third round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) this month, but significant changes to its rules, process and technology platform, has caused problems that were slowing approvals, a bank group said on Tuesday. Companies looking to apply for a second PPP loan were encountering technical hurdles the American Bankers Association said, while lenders are also receiving a “high number of incorrect error messages” when they submit loan applications. Reuters reported this month that government officials had pressured large lenders earlier to go live with the latest round of the program despite many unresolved issues. The SBA said on Tuesday that a review of first-time loans found anomalies – “mostly data mismatches and eligibility concerns” – in approximately 4.7% of the lender-submitted data. “These concerns will require follow-up between the lender and the borrower so that...
    More On: Paycheck Protection Program Scott Stringer wants more COVID stimulus funding to go to NYC businesses Next round of PPP begins amid COVID-19 surge How COVID relief bill will help small businesses Feds seize $8.4 million from Florida ‘ministry’ in PPP fraud case A trio of supplements sellers snagged millions in coronavirus relief loans last spring — all within weeks of getting dinged by the feds for questionable claims about their products, The Post has learned. The vitamin marketers joined the rush for Paycheck Protection Program aid in early 2020, even as their sales reps angled to cash in on the pandemic, government records show. The reps claimed on social media that their shakes, teas and powders could help protect consumers from the deadly virus, according to the Federal Trade Commission. “Instead of stockpiling toilet paper, you need to do something to help you fight the virus!” a rep for Pruvit Ventures allegedly wrote in a post accompanied by an image of the Texas-based company’s products. “Boost your immune system with our Immunity Boost Pack!” The claims of...
    January 15, 2021 | 4:26 pm Rappi and Banorte launched a program called RappiContigo, which will have 250 million pesos for the granting of loans for working capital to restaurants in Mexico that are allies of the delivery application. The credit limit per restaurant is up to one million pesos, with the aim of supporting the sector, hit by intermittent closures and the reduction in the number of diners allowed in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. This program seeks to benefit thousands of businesses with credits to continue their operation and thus prevent them from closing their doors permanently the signatures detailed in a statement. The financing option will be available from January 15 on the Rappi partner portal, it will not charge a commission for opening and will have preferential conditions. “We want to help our restaurant allies, a group very affected by the pandemic, to reconfigure themselves to flourish once again, protecting job sources and delighting their customers,” said Juan Miguel Guerra, CEO of RappiPay Mexico. Since the beginning of the pandemic, restaurants were considered...
    Reuters December 22, 2020 0 Comments The long-awaited nearly $900 billion U.S. pandemic aid package will help banks by boosting borrowers’ finances, easing a key small-business lending program’s rules and by granting accounting relief on deferred loan payments, lobbyists and analysts said. After months of partisan wrangling, the U.S. Congress over the weekend struck a deal on another pandemic aid package, including one-time $600 checks for most Americans, extended unemployment benefits of $300 per week and $284 billion more for the small business Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP. Passed by lawmakers Monday night, the package includes a number of measures that the industry, potentially facing more than $300 billion in losses on souring loans through 2022, according to consultancy Deloitte, had lobbied for aggressively to bolster their books and help their customers. Those efforts extended through the weekend, with industry lobbyists making last-ditch calls to lawmakers to push for their asks in the final text, lobbyists said. Rob Nichols, chief executive of Washington trade group the American Bankers Association, said on Tuesday that the deal should provide much-needed relief...
    The French Laundry is a Michelin-star restaurant run by Thomas Keller, a well-known American chef. Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images The French Laundry received more than $2.4 million from the Paycheck Protection Program in April, according to ABC7's Stephanie Sierra and Lindsey Feingold. Both PPP loans were approved on April 30 and went towards retaining a total of 168 staff members, the publication reports. Per ABC7, the French Laundry's PPP loan total was 17 times more than the average restaurant in California's Bay Area received. The French Laundry is a three-star Michelin restaurant run by Thomas Keller, a prominent chef and cookbook writer. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. The Michelin-star restaurant where California Gov. Gavin Newsom dined last month during a surge in coronavirus cases received over $2.4 million in PPP funding, per an ABC7 report by Stephanie Sierra and Lindsey Feingold.  The French Laundry, a high-end restaurant nestled in Napa Valley County, received two Paycheck Protection Program loans from the Small Business Administration in April, the publication reported.  According to ABC7, the first loan was for more...
    SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- At least eight companies partially owned by Gov. Gavin Newsom collectively received millions of dollars from the Paycheck Protection Program, according to an ABC7 analysis.While data released by the Small Business Administration earlier this year showed the PlumpJack Group received up to $350,000 worth of PPP loans, newly-released data by the SBA indicated PlumpJack businesses - including wineries, bars, and restaurants - received more than eight times that amount at nearly $3 million altogether.In 2018, Gov. Newsom placed his ownership interests in the PlumpJack Group into a blind trust. This means he would have no knowledge or role in the company's business decisions made during his time in office.RELATED: Officials question if South Bay man deserved millions in PPP loansDigging into the dataThe ABC7 I-Team discovered discrepancies between that company's SBA data and publicly available records that appear to raise questions about how much money some companies received under the program.ABC7's analysis found at least nine companies affiliated with the PlumpJack Group received PPP loans.App users: For a better experience, click here to view the list...
    THE CORONAVIRUS pandemic has made seven in 10 millennial and Gen Zers realize they need to reevaluate and reset how they handle their money, new research shows.  Nearly 70 percent of the 1,000 American millennials and 1,000 Gen Zers asked about the impact of Covid-19 and 2020 on their finances said they have budgeted their money as best they could, according to a study conducted by OnePoll for the digital lending platform Laurel Road.  4Nearly seven in 10 respondents said they have budgeted their money as best they could during the pandemicCredit: Getty Images - Getty However, 60 percent of respondents also said they wished they could improve their budgeting skills but did not know where to start. “We know Covid-19 has been challenging for us all. For millennials and Gen Z-ers, they too have faced many challenges, but in turn, the pandemic has also prompted an opportunity for a financial reset,” said Laurel Road chief experience officer Alyssa Schaefer. Slightly over half, or 52 percent, of respondents said they wish they did a better job managing their money amid...
    Employees at the Small Business Administration were told not to use the word 'fraud' while processing applications for pandemic disaster loans, according to a new report. Workers reviewing requests for the Small Business Administration's $212 billion Covid-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program were told to use alternative phrases such as 'duplicate,' four employees told Bloomberg. One manager told staff that 'fraud is the new 'F' word,' according to one of the people.  Employees were told that this was to prevent public records requests targeted on the keyword 'fraud,' but said that the alternative terms proposed to different teams varied, potentially raising issues for auditing the program. Employees at the Small Business Administration were told not to use the word 'fraud' while processing applications for pandemic disaster loans, according to a new report RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next REVEALED: US government gave more than $500 MILLION in PPP... Justice Department charges 57 people with attempting to... Share this article Share In a statement, the SBA said it 'strongly denies that staff...
    If you're like more than 37 million student loan borrowers, you probably haven't made a single payment to your education debt since March, when bills were put on hold due to the coronavirus crisis. That break may stop at the end of the year, meaning it is time to figure out how you're going to make payments come January. The Department of Education suspended student loan debt payments, paused accruing interest and stopped collections on defaulted federal loans in March as a part of the CARES Act. In August, President Donald Trump signed an executive action that extended the relief through December and said he may push it out to next year. But it's far from clear that another extension will come from Trump, and the government has been unable to reach a deal on any further stimulus in the meantime. Now, student loan experts are telling borrowers to brace for the pause to lapse and payments to restart in 2021. "Borrowers should sort of prepare for the worst and hope for the best," said Betsy Mayotte, president and founder...
    Hundreds of companies that received a cash injection under the Paycheck Protection Program have gone bust despite the aid, according to a new analysis. Nearly 300 companies that received as much as half a billion dollars in pandemic-related government loans later filed for bankruptcy, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis on Tuesday. It comes amid complaints that the program has been plagued by a lack of transparency, and also failed to demonstrate sufficient ability to prevent fraud and abuse.  The new analysis only includes larger borrowers, and does not include smaller companies that simply liquidated rather than filing for bankruptcy, meaning the true number that went under is likely much larger. A chart shows the cumulative number of bankruptcies among PPP recipients over time RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next High school basketball coach 'claimed nearly $1 million in... Tens of thousands of US companies 'wrongly received hundreds... Share this article Share The companies included in the analysis employed more than 23,000 workers, and many say that the lack of additional stimulus...
    Loading the player... The Wall Street Journal reports that the federal government have become swamped with reports of potential fraud in the Paycheck Protection Program, a response to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. According to government officials and public data, there’s evidence that others have taken advantage of the program’s “open door design” that was created to give small businesses easy access to taxpayer funds. Read More: #BankingWhileBlack: Bank calls police on Black man trying to cash his own paycheck Between April 3 and Aug. 8, $525 billion in loans were distributed to approximately 5.2 million small businesses. WSJ also reports that the inspector general of the Small Business Administration, which serves as an arm of the agency that administers the PPP, found “strong indictors of widespread potential abuse and fraud in PPP.” From July to September, there was a noticeable surge resulting in banks filing suspicious activity notices in the midst of the pandemic. Government official watchdogs counted tens of thousands of companies that reportedly receiving PPP loans that appeared to be ineligible....
    Weddings are already a huge financial burden on couples and families, but the coronavirus pandemic has added to the frustration for couples who planned to marry this year. Hundreds of thousands of couples are paying back loans for weddings that haven’t even happened yet, according to a new report. Last week, online lending platform Loanry reported that 225,000 couples who have postponed their weddings are collectively paying back $3.7 billion in loans they took out to finance those celebrations. That’s an average of $16,500 per couple.  LONG ISLAND COUNTRY CLUB FINED $17,000 FOR WEDDING WHERE 30 PEOPLE GOT COVID-19 “This last year will have been devastating for many couples,” Loanry’s founder Ethan Taub said in the report. “Especially for the percentage paying off loans for weddings that haven’t happened.” A recent report from Loanry has shown that hundreds of thousands of couples are paying back loans for weddings that haven’t even happened yet. (iStock) “However, we can take a positive from this situation. It may have highlighted that an exuberant wedding isn’t always the best option,” Taub added. “The occasion...
    Student loan borrowers may see more relief still in the pandemic.ViT Postman | iStock | Getty Images Student loan borrowers benefitting from a pause in repaying their loans are hoping it will continue. If the moratorium isn't extended, they'll have to reach for their checkbooks come January. In March, the U.S. Department of Education announced that borrowers could pause their monthly bills without interest accruing until September. Then, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that extended the reprieve through the end of the year. Still, that means borrowers may have to resume their payments in two months, while unemployment rates remain high and cases of the virus continue to surge across the U.S.  More from Personal Finance:Coronavirus slows pace of college tuition increasesEarly vaccines for Covid likely to be free for Medicare beneficiariesMillions poised to lose unemployment benefits at year's end Currently, just 11% of people with federal student loans are repaying them, according to data analyzed by higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz. "When student loan payments become mandatory again, that's a scary thought," said Cecilia Sena, 22, who graduated from Columbia University in...
    Illinois’ latest Consumer Lending Trends Report shows that predatory lenders in Illinois attracted a 5% increase in new borrowers in 2019. Abe Scarr of the consumer watchdog group Illinois PIRG says the layoffs and uncertainty of 2020 are sure to pressure more desperate people to take out high interest loans products this year. “I would be shocked if we did not see an uptick in some of these loan products this year,” Scarr said. The products include payday loans and payday installment loans; small consumer loans of up to $4000; and title secured loans where people who own a vehicle outright can hand over the title as collateral for a loan of a few thousand dollars. The interest rates on title secured loans can be as high as 300%. So it could cost a consumer $12,000 to borrow $4000 in an emergency. Scarr says even if interest rates were capped at 36%, lenders could still make a profit. The 110 companies in Illinois who offer high interest, short term loan products need government oversight and...
    The owner of a charter flight company in Virginia is accused of creating fake employees to secure $2.5 million in federal Payroll Protection Program loans intended for COVID relief - and using part of the money to buy a Cessna airplane and a Lexus.  A federal judge on Thursday ordered Didier Kindambu, 48, jailed before trial because the Congo national has two passports, a student pilot's license and access to three small aircraft. Kindambu is the owner of Papillon Air, which operates out of Leesburg Executive Airport. He faces a felony charge of bank fraud over the alleged scheme.   A conviction would mean up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.  Didier Kindambu, CEO of Papillon Air in Leesburg, Va., is accused of defrauding the federal PPP loan program by inventing 'fictitious' employees, according to an IRS affidavit A federal prosecutor argued Thursday that because Kindambu, 48, has a student pilot's license, two passports, and access to three small planes, he poses a risk of fleeing the country before a trial. A judge agreed and...
    Trump is legitimizing hate incidents against Asian Americans: U.N. experts Grocery stores prepare for a 2nd wave of pandemic panic shopping Do you know these lucrative Social Security secrets? Ad Microsoft Incredible Blanket Puts Humans In A Deep Sleep, Melting Stress Away Ad Microsoft The 23 Hottest Gadgets of 2020 Ad Microsoft Full screen 1/52 SLIDES © Anchiy/istockphoto Debt Measures Millions of Americans are suffering through the coronavirus...
    Bellator Europe 9 weigh-in results: All 24 fighters make weight ahead of fight night in Milan Inside the mind of Jonathan Anderson, fashions creative polymath Number of mortgages in coronavirus bailout program jumps 21,000 after declining for six straight weeks As of Tuesday, roughly 3.6 million homeowners remain in pandemic-related forbearance plans. That's 6.8% of all active mortgages, representing $751 billion in unpaid principal.  The government and private sector forbearance programs, initiated at the start of the pandemic, allow borrowers to delay their monthly payments for at least three months and for up to a year. © Provided by CNBC Homes in the North Park neighborhood of San Diego, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. U.S. sales of previously owned homes surged by the most on record in July as lower mortgage rates continued to power a residential real estate market that's proving a key source of strength for the economic recovery. The number of mortgages in active pandemic-related bailout plans rose by 21,000 in the past week after declining for six straight weeks, according to...
    A Hawaii defense contractor has been charged with bank fraud and money laundering for stealing more than $12.8 million in Paycheck Protection Program money meant to assist businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, federal authorities alleged Wednesday. Martin Kao, CEO of Martin Defense Group LLC, formerly known as Navatek LLC, transferred more than $2 million into his own personal accounts, a criminal complaint said. Kao also submitted at least two fraudulent loan applications, authorities said. CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE “According to the charges, Kao falsely inflated the number of employees on the loan application and falsely certified that the applicant and its affiliates would not receive, and had not received, another PPP loan,” the U.S. attorney’s office in Hawaii said in a statement. Congress authorized the Paycheck Protection Program, known as PPP, in March to provide emergency financial assistance to those suffering economic effects of the pandemic through forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and other expenses. Investigators talked to an executive and a former employee who said the company wasn’t affected by the pandemic, according to...
    By JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER, Associated Press HONOLULU (AP) — The CEO of a company that was one of Hawaii’s largest recipients of the Paycheck Protection Program defrauded banks of more than $12.8 million in money meant to assist businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, federal authorities said Wednesday. Martin Kao, CEO of Martin Defense Group LLC, formerly known as Navatek LLC, is charged with bank fraud and money laundering. Investigators talked to an executive and a former employee who said the company wasn’t affected by the pandemic, according to a criminal complaint. A defense attorney listed for Kao, 47, didn't immediately return an Associated Press message seeking comment. Kao's first court appearance is scheduled for Thursday. Congress authorized the Paycheck Protection Program, known as PPP, in March to provide emergency financial assistance to those suffering economic effects of the pandemic through forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and other expenses. Kao transferred more than $2 million into his own personal accounts, the complaint said. Authorities describe his company as a “research, engineering, design, and innovations company that specializes...
    VIDEO4:1404:14Another coronavirus stimulus deal is in the works—Here's what McConnell and Pelosi said about itNews Videos Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., announced a resolution Thursday that would broadly cancel federal student loan debt during the coronavirus crisis.   The resolution calls on President Donald Trump to take executive action to forgive up to $50,000 in debt for borrowers. The economic aftermath from the pandemic, which caused unemployment to spike and wages to fall, has made it nearly impossible for many borrowers to repay their college loans, the senators said. Zoom In IconArrows pointing outwards Even before the coronavirus outbreak, college costs have been increasing significantly for years. As a result, student debt has reached record proportions, with more than $1.5 trillion in loans outstanding.  Now, roughly 43 million adults currently have a federal student loan, according to the U.S. Department of Education. But the burden is not shared equally among graduates. Studies show that women and Black students, particularly those from low- and moderate-income families, carry most of the nation's debt. More from Personal Finance:The private student...
    While Mitch McConnell wasted even more time this week with another symbolic coronavirus "relief" bill, states are struggling to come up with a solution for saving bars and restaurants while still keeping their populations safe. They remain the establishments hit hardest by the economic disaster that came with the pandemic, and the help they need is nowhere in sight. That's even with bipartisan House and Senate bills designed expressly to help independent bars and restaurants where the previous effort, the Paycheck Protection Program, failed. (Disclosure: Kos Media received a Paycheck Protection Program loan.) That provided loans for businesses to keep employees on payroll for eight weeks, but as the pandemic is stretching well into its sixth month they need another plan. They need support for paying rent and licenses and utility bills as well as payroll if they're going to survive. This is critical because "restaurants are dying," says chef Marcus Samuelsson. "Four out of five of our favorite independent restaurants may not survive this shutdown." Independent restaurants make up half a million small businesses, employing 11 million people directly. Meanwhile, McConnell's...
    A Massachusetts man accused of faking his own death to avoid being charged with defrauding the CARES Act has been indicted, federal prosecutors said. David Adler Staveley, 53, of Andover, and his alleged co-conspirator, David Andrew Butziger, 52, of Warwick, Rhode Island, were the first people nationwide to be charged with fraudulently seeking Paycheck Protection Program loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island announced in May. The pair is accused of trying to secure $543,959 in loans intended for small businesses struggling amid the pandemic by falsely claiming they had dozens of employees at four businesses, including three restaurants, although they actually employed no workers there, federal prosecutors said. Staveley, who was arrested in May, then faked his own death by staging his suicide, complete with leaving notes for associates and in his car, which he left unlocked and parked near the Atlantic Ocean, federal prosecutors allege. Staveley proceeded to travel through several states using false identities and stolen license...
    VIDEO2:1202:12Chinese banks' profitability under pressure due to 'national service': AnalystSquawk Box Asia China's five largest banks reported their biggest profit declines in at least a decade as they brace for further increases in bad loans in an economy weakened by the coronavirus pandemic. The five lenders — Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China and Bank of Communications — released their latest financial report cards last week. All five posted at least 10% year-on-year declines in profit for the first half of 2020 as they set aside more funds for potential loan losses in the coming months — much like many banks around the world. "The banks have been asked to ... perform 'national service.' They've been asked to support the economy at the expense of their own operational strength," said Jason Tan, research analyst at CreditSights, told CNBC's "Squawk Box Asia" on Monday. Zoom In IconArrows pointing outwards Chinese banks, among the world's largest by assets, have been placed at the front line of the government's effort to soften the economic blow on households...
    BEIJING / SHANGHAI, Aug 30 (.) – Four of China’s five largest state banks said they have increased their provisions against bad debts to prepare for future losses from the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic. All five reported their biggest profit declines in at least a decade and an increase in non-performing loans when they announced their semi-annual results Sunday and last week. The Agricultural Bank of China Ltd (AgBank) said on Sunday in presenting its mid-year results that “the lagged impact of the epidemic and the risk of uncertainty are expected to be further transmitted to the banking industry.” The China Construction Bank Corp (CCB), the country’s second largest lender by assets, said it plans to assess credit risks and increase provisions, as did Bank of China Ltd (BoC), which said the same. The Bank of Communications Co Ltd, meanwhile, reported on Friday that it had strengthened “provisions to counter the future impact of the pandemic.” As the pandemic hits economies globally, BoC, the most international of China’s large state banks, said it would...
    IRVING, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Thanks to additional CARES ACT funding, the City of Irving will offer a new program aimed at helping Irving businesses suffering from the effects of COVID-19. Sole proprietors and home-based businesses can apply as well. The program will provide up to $50,000 in forgivable loans. The businesses must be physically located and operating within the city. Pre-applications will be accepted from August 24 to September 6. The pre-application process involves an 11-question form that will be available online in English and Spanish. Once the pre-applications are screened for eligibility, they will be placed into a pool and randomly selected through a lottery system. Selected businesses then will be invited to submit a full application. Eligible businesses must have: · Existed on or before Feb. 1, 2019 · 100 or fewer employees as of March 1, 2020 · Annual gross income
    SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The coronavirus pandemic has had a terrible impact on small businesses. 110,000 have already closed across the country, and 7 million more are at risk for the same fate.To address that, the Small Business Administration is handing out billions of dollars in loans to help companies pay their employees, but the SBA tells the ABC7 I-Team they are investigating many reports of possible fraud.EXCLUSIVE: Bay Area company criticized for lacking qualifications to source PPE receives nearly $50M in FEMA fundingThe SBA needed to get this money out fast to help companies stay afloat, and they admit their oversight could have been more stringent. Tonight, we ask -- did one South Bay man get millions of dollars he did not deserve?It's been only four months since President Trump signed the CARES Act."I wanted it to be a nice signature," Trump said.That set up the Paycheck Protection Program, and 5 million small businesses have already received more than half-a-trillion-dollars ($518 billion) in low-interest loans that may be forgiven.RELATED: Bay Area corporations receive billions in federal funding during...
    With the unemployment rate hovering over 14 percent in Illinois during the pandemic, a new study shows Illinoisans are one of the most in need of loans in the country. The personal finance website WalletHub ranked people in Illinois third overall nationwide based on internal credit report data and Google search increases for three loan-related terms. Analyst Jill Gonzalez said greater interest in getting a loan indicates that more people in the state are struggling to make ends meet. It also implies there may be more strain on the state’s public assistance programs in the near future, and the state may experience a deeper recession than others will. “We look for all personal loans, as well as specifically payday loans and home equity loans, and Illinois actually ranked number one in terms of it’s home equity loan search interest right now,” Gonzalez said. Illinoisans searching for payday loans is a red flag in Gonzalez’s mind. “Searching for payday loans is always concerning. Payday loans are en extremely expensive lending option, as they charge exorbitant interest...
    St. Patrick’s gets police protection and at least $1 million for pandemic. This isn’t the kind of news Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Marco Rubio want to see about the continually problematic Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) they got into this spring’s coronavirus relief bill: The U.S. Roman Catholic Church got at least $1.4 billion in those loans “with many millions going to dioceses that have paid huge settlements or sought bankruptcy protection because of clergy sexual abuse cover-ups.” (Disclosure: Kos Media received a Paycheck Protection Program loan.) The AP has found that the Catholic Church got between $1.4 billion and at least $3.5 billion from the program, split among at least 3,500 forgivable loans to dioceses, parishes, schools, and other church programs. The report found that the church, by “aggressively promoting the payroll program and marshaling resources to help affiliates navigate its shifting rules,” became the biggest winner of all from the PPP loan programs. The legislation made an allowance for faith groups and other nonprofits to get the loans, which, being tax-payer funded, are not normally available to religious...
    By Reade Levinson and Chris Prentice WASHINGTON (Reuters) - At least six police unions qualified for a combined total of $2 million to $4.4 million in emergency U.S. government loans intended to help small businesses stay afloat during the coronavirus lockdown, according to data released Monday by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The unions represent about 110,000 law enforcement officers in Philadelphia, Houston, New York state, Michigan and 11 Southern states. All told, the six approved loans make up a small fraction of the program’s $521 billion in lending across 4.9 million loans as of June 30. The data released on Monday does not specify whether the loans were disbursed or if the unions will qualify for loan forgiveness. Intended to help small companies and non-profit organizations keep their workforces employed during the coronavirus crisis, the federal Paycheck Protection Program allows employers with 500 or fewer workers hurt by the economic fallout of the pandemic to apply for a forgivable government-backed loan. The six police unions typically receive 90% of their revenue from membership dues, according to tax records reviewed...
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