Tennessee Woman Indicted for Alleged COVID-19-Loan Scheme

Federal officials have arrested and arraigned a Benton, Tennessee woman and charged her with wire fraud, money laundering, and operating an unlicensed money transmittal business, commonly known as a “money mule” operation. This, according to a press release that staff members for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee published this week.

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Arizona’s U.S. Senator Mark Kelly Proposes Legislation to Fund Local Mainstream Media

Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) joined U.S. Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) to co-sponsor legislation that indirectly funds local media. The Local Journalism Sustainability Act establishes tax credits that give consumers a huge deduction on media subscriptions, subsidizes journalists’ salaries, and funds news outlets by paying for businesses to advertise.

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Georgia Residents Allegedly Used Paycheck Protection Program Loans on Luxury Items

Federal officials in Georgia have charged 22 people in connection with what they call a fraudulent scheme to obtain approximately $11.1 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. Those people allegedly used that money to purchase luxury vehicles, jewelry, and other personal items.

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Warner, Wexton Highlight American Rescue Plan Opportunities for Broadband Expansion and Small Business Relief

Senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia) and Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-Virginia-10) made two stops in northern Virginia on Friday and Monday discussing impacts of COVID-19 and financial opportunities from federal relief.

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Hundreds of Millions in Paycheck Protection Program Loans Went to CCP-Backed Firms, as U.S. Small Businesses Went Under

U.S Small Business Administration

The Golden Horseshoe is a weekly designation from Just the News intended to highlight egregious examples of wasteful taxpayer spending by the government. The award is named for the horseshoe-shaped toilet seats for military airplanes that cost the Pentagon a whopping $640 each back in the 1980s.

This week, our award is going to the United States Small Business Administration and Treasury Department for awarding at least $200 million, but as much as $420 million, to Chinese Communist Party-linked businesses by way of the Paycheck Protection Program, intended to assist U.S. small businesses that were devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, widely believed to have originated in China.

A report from the Horizon Advisory strategic consulting group illustrates how negligible congressional oversight allowed at least 125 Chinese firms to “take advantage of the international disaster” by benefitting “directly from U.S. investment and relief measures.”

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Senior NASA Employee Pleads Guilty to COVID-19 Related Loan Fraud

A senior NASA employee has plead guilty to bank fraud after applying for over $350,000 in COVID-19-related relief. On Monday, NASA Senior Executive Service employee Andrew Tezna pleaded guilty to submitting fraudulent applications for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, Economic Injury Disaster loans, and COVID-19 unemployment benefits for his retired mother-in-law.

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Commentary: Did PPP Work?

As the Small Business Administration official who oversaw the Paycheck Protection Program, I’m often asked, “Did PPP actually work?”  

PPP was a response to state and local governments mandating shutdowns as a way to slow the spread of COVID-19. The premise was this: Encourage lenders to provide small businesses and nonprofits with forgivable, SBA-guaranteed loans over an eight-week period as a payroll-support measure. This small business financial support was designed to help prevent mass unemployment as Americans were confined to their homes.  

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Former Conyers Mayoral Candidate Allegedly Stole Massive Funds from the Paycheck Protection Program

A former mayoral candidate for the city of Conyers allegedly concocted a scheme to use a company she started to steal more than $323,000 from the federal Paycheck Protection Program. Officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia arraigned the woman, Olivia Ware, 61, on federal charges of bank fraud and money laundering.

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Forgivable PPP Loans May Have State Tax Implications for Michigan Businesses

Michigan businesses can accept their forgiven pandemic loans without worrying about paying federal taxes, but it’s not yet clear if they’ll owe state taxes.

More than 121,000 Michigan businesses took federal forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans valued at approximately $15.7 billion.

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Virginia Delegate McNamara Pre-Files Legislation Exempting Forgiven PPP Loans from State Taxes

Delegate Joe McNamara (R-Roanoke) has pre-filed HB 1787, legislation for the 2021 General Assembly session that will exempt business owners from state taxes on forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. PPP loans are part of broad COVID-19 relief funding meant to help small businesses keep paying their employees.

When the PPP was passed by Congress in March 2020, the forgivable loans were exempt from federal taxes, but Virginia’s tax structure means the forgiven PPP loans are not automatically exempt from state taxes. McNamara said that could lead to confusion for business owners.

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Republicans Will Put PPP Funding Back on the Floor for a Vote Despite Democrats’ Efforts to Block It, Sen. Blackburn Says

U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) told CNBC’s SquawkBox on Wednesday that Republicans will try again to pass their bill that would provide PPP and vaccine funding despite Democrats’ attempts to block the efforts.

CNBC asked Blackburn if she would vote for a deal if the White House and the Treasury Department reached an agreement with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12).

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Congressional Debate: Candidates Scott Taylor and Incumbent Elaine Luria Spar Over Stimulus Packages and Gun Control

Republican challenger Scott Taylor and incumbent Representative Elaine Luria (D-Virginia Beach) faced off Tuesday night in their first televised debate. The 2nd Congressional District race is currently a toss-up.
Political reporter Joe St. George served as the moderator. Questions featured were presented in three segments: from the moderator first, then viewers, and lastly from Taylor and Luria.

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DeWine’s Baseball Team’s Paycheck Protection Program Loan Nets Millionaire Governor $189K of Forgivable Taxpayer Handout

With news that Gov. Mike DeWine’s minor league baseball team cashed in on the Paycheck Protection Program, one may ask how Ohio’s top executive came to own a team in North Carolina or why he needed a taxpayer handout.

DeWine has a 32 percent stake in the Asheville Tourists minor league team, The Ohio Star reported this week.

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Small Business Administration Gave Loans to Multi-Million Dollar Companies

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the U.S. Treasury Department this week released the names of 4.9 million Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan recipient businesses and nonprofits that received $150,000 or more.

The mostly forgivable PPP loans were funded through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

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Gov. DeWine’s Company, which Owns a Minor Baseball Team in North Carolina, Gets Loan from Federal Virus Aid Program

A company partly owned by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is among those that received loans from a $600 billion-plus coronavirus aid program.

The data released Monday shows DeWine Seeds-Silver Dollar Baseball received a loan under the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program for a range of $150,000 to $350,000.

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SBA: 2.2 Million Loans, $175B Issued So Far in 2nd Round of Paycheck Protection Program

The Small Business Administration and the U.S. Treasury revealed Sunday that the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program has issued 2.2 million loans, totaling $175 billion.

PPP loans are forgivable loans for small businesses to offset some of the losses experienced by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The loans are meant to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.

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Sen. Sherrod Brown Calls for Investigation into Reports Paycheck Protection Program Prioritized ‘Wealthier Clients’

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, joined two other Democrats in calling for an investigation into reports some Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) lenders are prioritizing “larger and wealthier clients.”

In a letter to Small Business Administration (SBA) Inspector General Mike Ware, the senators allege some lenders “have prioritized the applications of their larger and wealthier clients to the detriment of smaller [businesses] adversely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.”

U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, and Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, joined Brown, the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, in sending the letter.

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Wells Fargo Bows Out of Small Business Bailout Program After Receiving $10 Billion of Loan Applications

One of the largest banks in the United States announced that it is no longer accepting applications for a federal program aimed at rescuing small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Wells Fargo has stopped accepting new applications for the government’s Paycheck Protection Program, an initiative created by the government to assist U.S. businesses that employ fewer than 500 people. The bank’s decision came after it was inundated with billions of dollars in loan requests since Friday.

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