The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado on Aug. 26 announced the U.S. Secret Service returned approximately $286 million in fraudulently obtained Economic Injury Disaster Loans to the Small Business Administration. These recovered funds were generated by fraudulently submitted EIDL loan applications using fabricated or stolen employment and personal information, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Initiated by the field office of the U.S. Secret Service in Orlando, the investigation revealed the conspirators used the third-party payment system Green Dot Bank to conceal and move their criminal proceeds. Working with GDB, the Secret Service identified more than 15,000 accounts used in the conspiracy and seized the $286 million in the fraudulent accounts.
After identifying the suspected fraudulent accounts with GDB, the Secret Service approached the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado. The District of Colorado has the venue for all EIDL issued by the SBA because its Finance Center is located in Colorado. The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced it obtained the seizure warrant with the district court, leading to the seizure of the fraudulent accounts from GDB.
“Working closely with our Central and North Florida Cyber Fraud Task Forces, this investigation enabled the recovery of a significant amount of critical federal relief,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Roy Dotson in a press release. Dotson is the lead investigator for the Secret Service.
“OIG is focused on rooting out bad actors in these vital SBA programs,” said SBA Inspector General Hannibal “Mike” Ware in a press release. “I want to thank the U.S. Secret Service and our many partners in law enforcement for their tireless dedication and focused commitment to seeing justice served.”
Since 2020, the Secret Service has seized more than $1.4 billion in fraudulently obtained funds and assisted in returning approximately $2.3 billion to state unemployment insurance programs. The Secret Service has also initiated more than 3,850 pandemic-related fraud investigations and inquiries, according to the announcement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“We applaud the hard work and dedication of the Secret Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the District of Colorado and Middle District of Florida,” said Department of Justice Director for COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Kevin Chambers in the announcement. “This is an important step in returning stolen funds to the American people. This forfeiture effort and those to come are a direct and necessary response to the unprecedented size and scope of pandemic relief fraud. The Department of Justice is grateful for our partnership with the Secret Service and all of our law enforcement partners working to recover stolen pandemic relief funds.”