Fraudsters used the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a government program that allowed companies to stay afloat with loans during the coronavirus pandemic. 15 of the suspects were arrested earlier this week.
Investigations by local authorities revealed that some of the suspects were in prison when they applied for government assistance. They did it over the phone. “Some of the suspects posted bail days after receiving fraudulently obtained loans,” said the Joliet Police Chief.
Loans range from $19,000 to $20,000. Most of the suspects were already in jail for other types of fraud they committed. Others were jailed for theft. In total, more than half a million dollars were involved in fraud cases in Illinois.
prone to fraud
The government’s PPP program was found to be the most susceptible to fraud in the US. In August, the US Secret Service announced that it had recovered $286 million in ill-gotten gains.
US: $45.6 billion in unemployment fraud during pandemic
Fraudsters have stolen about $45.6 billion in unemployment benefits during the pandemic, according to the US federal regulator, The Washington Post. Among other things, they used the Social Security numbers of dead people to defraud the US government. Also, fraudsters filed unemployment claims in multiple states at the same time. Other criminals used the identities of inmates who were ineligible for assistance to receive benefits.
About 190,000 investigative cases related to possible unemployment insurance fraud have been opened since the pandemic began, according to the Labor Department.