A new study by the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) claims that at least $38 million in pandemic relief loans were sent to dead recipients through the use of incorrect Social Security numbers.
As reported by Just The News, the fraudulent loans in question were made through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) as well as the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Michael Horowitz, the chairman of PRAC, first testified before the U.S. House in February that PRAC had identified at least 69,000 suspicious Social Security Numbers (SSNs), which had been used to obtain $5.4 billion in relief funds. Another 175,000 suspicious SSNs were used in applications, but ultimately never received any money.
“Using data available from DNP’s matching process and date of death information, the PRAC’s data scientists found that 3,222 of the 15,307 deceased individuals’ SSNs were used on COVID-19 EIDL/PPP applications across three analytic scenarios,” PRAC says in its latest report.
The fraud ranged from applications being submitted after the death of the SSN’s owner, to instances where applications were submitted while the owner was still alive, but only approved after their death. PRAC determined that the $38 million in fraudulent payments were distributed to 305 different SSNs, out of 3,222 SSNs overall.
“The work of the PACE makes clear why sustained data analytics capability, beyond the PRAC’s sunset and the COVID-19 pandemic, would be a gamechanger for the oversight community,” said Horowitz in his own statement. “Retaining an anti-fraud analytics center will ensure the federal government has the resources it needs to conduct effective oversight of all federal expenditures.”