- The Washington Times - Monday, June 13, 2022

The federal government has recaptured $10 billion that the government wrongly paid out in pandemic loans to small businesses, according to new numbers Congress released Monday.

Congressional Democrats released the new numbers ahead of a hearing Tuesday on the scope of fraud in pandemic assistance programs.

Democrats argue that the Biden administration is improving in targeting bogus payments, and they said the new numbers back up that assertion: The $10 billion marks a $5 billion increase in just a couple of months.

But it is still a tiny fraction of the total amount of fraud believed to have struck the two loan programs overseen by the Small Business Administration during the pandemic.

Estimates say perhaps 15% of the $1.135 trillion allocated for the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans went to fraudsters.

Another pandemic program, the enhanced unemployment benefits, may have seen fraud of as much as $250 billion, with a large share of that money flowing to criminal syndicates operating from outside the U.S., some with backing of America’s adversaries.

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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