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Self-Certification Procedures May Increase Fraud Risk in Pandemic Response Programs

Two different pandemic response programs used self-certification by applicants as a primary requirement to determine eligibility and experienced increased fraud due to that requirement. The Small Business Administration (SBA) and Department of Labor (DOL) Offices of Inspectors General (OIG) found in recent reports that self-certification is a major fraud risk that cuts across program and agency boundaries. As a result, businesses and individuals may have improperly received pandemic response funds, in effect reducing the total amount of funds available for those businesses and individual...

Highlights of Our Report to Congress

The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) submitted its first-ever Semiannual Report to Congress, covering the period of April 1 to September 30, 2020. The report is required by the CARES Act and summarizes our work since the PRAC was founded in spring 2020. We wrote this report to update Congress on our efforts to promote public transparency and ensure coordinated oversight of $2.6+ trillion in pandemic response spending. The report is a resource for the public, the press, and federal, state, and local policymakers, with information on the PRAC’s structure, our members, our...

Will You Help Make Our Website Better?

The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) recently launched this beta version of and now, we’re looking for your feedback to help us plan next steps. Why did we launch the site as “beta?” A beta launch gives you, the website’s user, the opportunity to help drive our decisions about new functionalities and enhancements. Are you able to find what you’re looking for? Is information missing from the website that you think is important and would help the public? What do you like, and what can we do better? Help us build the future To give us...

Charged: PPP Scammers

The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced that more than fifty people have been criminally charged with fraudulently obtaining loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP was created by the CARES Act to provide Small Business Administration (SBA) loans to businesses and other organizations in to order keep workforces employed during the coronavirus pandemic. By the time applications for the PPP loans had closed on August 8, 2020, the DOJ noted, more than 5.2 million loans had been approved for a total of more than $525 billion. The DOJ, with partners from the FBI, the...

Scam Alert

Beware the fake contact tracers and coronavirus vaccines, and person-in-need-of-help scams. Here are a few pointers to protect yourself from scammers trying to take advantage of you. The Federal Trade Commission has warned that there are bad guys out there pretending to be contact tracers to steal your identity or money. When a real contact tracer calls you, they may ask for your name and address, health information, and the names of places and people you have been in touch with. However, if they ask for money, your social security number, financial information, or immigration status, hang up...