SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3 on your side) – A few months ago, Scott Monroe received a surprise statement in the mail from the US Small Business Administration.
“It was a statement showing that there was a disaster loan that was due for payment in August 2021,” Monroe told 3 On Your Side.
It was a surprise because Monroe doesn’t own a business and he never applied for the $ 26,200 loan.
“It’s my name,” Monroe said. “My second initial. This address.”
The retired Scottsdale man tried to unravel the mess that suddenly linked his name and home address to a fraudulent SBA loan. He filed reports with local and federal authorities. Yet loan notices continued to arrive in the mail.
“This loan is not mine and I am not going to pay it off,” he said.
According to SBA data, 62,005 COVID-19 economic disaster loans worth $ 3.3 billion have been made in Arizona. Nationally, nearly $ 200 billion in EIDL loans have been approved. Like the loan in Monroe’s name, many of them are probably fraudulent.
A scathing federal report published by the Office of the Inspector General in October reveals a series of failures in the loan process.
“The SBA’s initial response to implement the EIDL program made billions of dollars of capital available to provide rapid economic relief to eligible entities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the report says. However, the unprecedented demand for EIDL COVID-19 and the equally unprecedented challenges faced by the SBA in responding have resulted in billions of dollars being distributed to potentially ineligible entities or fraudsters due to errors, weaknesses in controls and fraud. “
Examples of red flags identified by the OIG include multiple loan applications using the same address, email address, or bank account. The report also shows that multiple loans were approved for applicants who used the same IP address. In one case, a single IP address was used for 245 loans worth $ 14.5 million.
In Monroe’s case, the scammers didn’t even bother to come up with a fake business name. They just used his first and last name as a business name, and now he’s hooked.
“My identity is at stake there,” he said. “It was such a blow in the stomach like that because I’m always really careful to make sure I shred anything that leaves this property so where they got my information from, is it on the dark web or whatever. thing, who knows. “
But he does know one thing.
“When that happens, they won’t get any money on me,” Monroe said.
3 On Your Side contacted the financial institution where the money from the fraudulent Monroe loan was deposited. A spokesperson said he was unable to comment on the loan as it is part of a government investigation. The SBA did not respond to questions about the loan on behalf of Monroe, but said anyone discovering a fraudulent loan in his name should immediately report it to the OIG hotline at 1-800-767-0385 or in line.
To verify our list of small businesses in Arizona that received a COVID-19 economic disaster loan to see if you can be a victim. (Note: this is a large file.)
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