Representative Davids calls for Johnson County victims of pandemic loan fraud to be ‘held blameless’
US Representative Sharice Davids of Kansas Urges Federal Government Small business administration to investigate allegations of fraudulent pandemic relief small business loans, which have affected dozens of Johnson County homeowners.
Davids’ announcement comes after a Shawnee Mission Post survey revealed nearly $ 1 million in pandemic relief loans, called Economic disaster loans, or EIDL, have been distributed to fraudulent Johnson County businesses. The loans were obtained using the addresses and, in most cases, the names of at least 35 Johnson County residents.
The EIDL program has expanded over the past year to support small businesses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
In October, the office of the inspector general of the SBA reported that the program was rife with fraud, estimating that about $ 1.1 billion in loans have been made to potentially ineligible businesses.
“Every dollar wasted on fraud is a dollar that could have gone to a struggling business,” said Davids, who sits on the House Small Business Committee as well as the Investigation, Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee. regulations. “We need to strike a balance between the rapid distribution of funds and the prevention of waste, fraud and abuse.”
Davids also called for victims of identity theft under the EIDL program to be “held to be beyond reproach.”
Impact on residents
Eight Johnson County residents told The Post they received a letter from the SBA stating that the loans they did not apply for were taken out using their address, name or both, and that the loans had to be repaid in the coming year.
A spokesperson for the SBA said victims of identity theft would not be held responsible for loans taken out on their behalf, but that each case should be investigated. Still, several Johnson County residents the Post spoke to said they had not received written confirmation from the SBA that they would not be held responsible for the loan in question.
“Not only does this abuse undermine this vital program and the small businesses that deserve and need these funds, but the Kansans who are victims of identity theft must also prove their innocence before these fraudulent loans on their behalf expire.” , Davids said. “This is the last thing they should have to worry about during an already so difficult time for our community.”
What victims can do next
In her letter To Tami Perriello, Acting Director of the Small Business Administration, Davids asked the agency to provide information on how it is investigating EIDL fraud and providing support to victims of identity theft as part of the program loan.
Davids also said she is making her office available to residents of Kansas’ Third Congressional District, which covers all of Johnson County, who have been affected by potentially fraudulent claims.
Residents can call (913) 621-0832 to speak to a social worker about the issue. Several voters have contacted the hotline so far, according to Davids’ office.
Several victims the Post spoke to applauded Davids’ decision to press for an investigation and said they plan to contact his office as a next step.
“It’s a good idea,” said James Kilian of Olathe, whose address was used to take out a loan that neither he nor his wife requested. “It appears to be a very widespread problem.”
After spending months reporting the fraud to various federal agencies, Kilian said he had yet to receive written confirmation that the issue had been resolved.
Other people the Post spoke to said they felt they had done enough by reporting the issue to local law enforcement and the SBA.
“I just reported it,” Rodney Gochenour told Shawnee, whose name and address were fraudulently used to apply for a loan. “If they can’t help but give money to people who aren’t supposed to get it, that’s their problem. I pointed out to them.
In response to Davids’ statement, an SBA spokesperson said suspected fraudulent EIDL loan activity should be reported to the Office of Inspector General’s hotline at 800-767-0385 or online.