The Illinois Office of Executive Inspector General has referred 177 state employees to law enforcement agencies, alleging at least $4.5 million in fraudulently obtained Paycheck Protection Program loans, according to a recent report.
The PPP from the Small Business Administration was one of the most fraudulent programs in the history of federal programs, with an estimated $200 billion in fraudulent loans.
The Illinois IG launched an investigation into state employees to determine if any had defrauded the federal government’s PPP. It initiated 438 investigations into employees receiving over $20,000 in PPP loans, and out of the 204 investigations it completed, 177 of them have been referred to law enforcement, or about 87% of concluded investigations.
These referrals were predicated on, “reasonable cause to believe that a State employee violated the State of Illinois Code of Personal Conduct and/or agency policy by obtaining PPP loans based on falsified information.” Illinois law requires the IG to refer losses of over $5,000 in public funds from misconduct to the Illinois Attorney General.
The IG estimates that the total value of these fraudulent loans stands at $4.5 million, but says that its investigation is still ongoing, with 234 investigations still pending.
Employees of Illinois’ Department of Human Services are alleged to have perpetrated the most fraud, with 132 of the 177 referrals working at that agency. The next highest agency, the Department of Children and Family Services, had 25 referrals.
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