Florida AG, FTC Taking Legal Action to Shut Down COVID-19 Scam Targeting Minority-Owned Small Businesses

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and the Federal Trade Commission have taken legal action to shut down what they say was a fraudulent scheme perpetrated by a company targeting minority-owned small businesses.

They filed a joint complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida where Judge Marcia Morales Howard issued a temporary restraining order against the company, preventing it from doing any more business.

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Georgia U.S. House Hopeful Jones Blasts Collins’ ‘Troubling’ $465K Loan to Own Campaign After Feds Forgave His Nearly $1 Million PPP Loan

The former Democratic Georgia state representative now running as the Trump-endorsed U.S. House hopeful in the GOP primary for his state’s 10th Congressional District told The Georgia Star and The Star News Network his opponent trucking businessman Mike Collins’ $465,000 loan to his campaign after the government forgave his $920,000 loan from the government’s Payroll Protection Program troubled him.

“Yeah, I want to be clear, the purpose of PPP loans was to save struggling self-employed, small businesses, mid-size businesses,” said Vernon Jones, who dropped his primary challenge to Gov. Brian P. Kemp at the request of President Donald J. Trump to clear the field for former senator David A. Perdue Jr.

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Fraudsters Used Paycheck Protection Program Loans for Bentleys, Diamonds, Luxury Homes: Watchdog

woman on laptop with eye glasses and mug next to her

This week’s Golden Horseshoe goes to the Small Business Administration for millions in Paycheck Protection Program loans it issued to fraudsters who used the money to purchase luxury homes, high-priced jewelry and expensive cars, including a Bentley and two Lamborghinis, according to a watchdog report.

The Paycheck Protection Program had the highest percentage of cases of criminal activity of all the pandemic relief programs, according to the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee’s recent Semiannual Report to Congress.

“A total of 14 OIGs have indictments/complaints, arrests, and/or convictions from April 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021, related to the federal government’s COVID-19 pandemic response,” PRAC reported.

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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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Ohio Senate Unanimously Passes a Ban on Taxing PPP Loans

Ohio businesses that benefitted from federal and state help during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are a step closer to not being forced to pay taxes on that aid.

The Ohio Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 18, which complies Ohio tax law with the federal code, streamlines the state’s tax filing process and makes sure money received during the pandemic will not be taxed.

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Senator Kelly Loeffler Compares Her Record, Including Passage of New PPP Funding, to Raphael Warnock’s Record

U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler on Friday highlighted the stark contrasts between her record in the successful PPP program and other COVID-19 assistance in the Senate versus her opponent Rev. Raphael Warnock’s PPP record.

Loeffler pointed out the differences in a tweet.

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Consulting Firm Co-Owned by Rep. Ilhan Omar’s Husband Received $600,000 in COVID Relief

A consulting firm co-owned by Rep. Ilhan Omar’s husband received more than $600,000 in COVID-19 relief funds while taking millions from Omar’s campaign.

Records show that E Street Group received $134,800 from the Paycheck Protection Program and $500,000 in Economic Injury Disaster Loans.

Omar’s campaign has paid the firm $2.78 million since July 2019, according to Federal Election Commission records. Between July 23 and Sept. 30, E Street Group received $1.1 million from Omar’s campaign for expenses related to advertising, digital consulting, video production and editing, travel and more.

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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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Man Arrested After Illegally Obtaining $8.5 Million in Coronavirus Relief

A California man was arrested on Thursday after being charged with fraudulently claiming $8.5 million in coronavirus relief funds through the Payment Protection Program (PPP) and spending hundreds of thousands at a Las Vegas casino, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced.

The criminal complaint charges Andrew Marnell, 40, of Los Angeles, CA, with submitting fake documents in the PPP funding application, lying about the expenses and business operations of several businesses and using fake aliases to obtain these federal government sourced funds.

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Paycheck Protection Program Is Supporting More Than 51 Million Small Business Jobs, Trump Administration Announces

The $670 billion Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has supported more than 51 million jobs since its launch in April, the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration announced Monday as it released information on 4.9 million loans disbursed by the program.

“The PPP is providing much-needed relief to millions of American small businesses, supporting more than 51 million jobs and over 80 percent of all small business employees, who are the drivers of economic growth in our country,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement Monday.

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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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