What GAO Found
In April 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) quickly implemented the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and expedited the processing of Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and a new EIDL advance program. These important programs have helped businesses survive during the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to move quickly on these programs, SBA initially put limited internal controls in place, leaving both susceptible to program integrity issues, improper payments, and fraud. Because of concerns about program integrity, GAO added PPP and the EIDL program onto its High-Risk List in March 2021.
SBA has begun to take steps to address these initial deficiencies:
- PPP oversight. Because ongoing oversight is crucial, GAO recommended in June 2020 that SBA develop plans to respond to PPP risks to ensure program integrity, achieve program effectiveness, and address potential fraud. Since then, SBA has developed a loan review process and added up-front verifications before it approves new loans.
- Improper payments for PPP. GAO recommended in November 2020 that SBA expeditiously estimate improper payments for PPP and report estimates and error rates. SBA has now developed a plan for the testing needed to estimate improper payments.
- Analyzing EIDL data. Based on evidence of widespread potential fraud for EIDL, GAO recommended in January 2021 that SBA conduct portfolio-level analysis to detect potentially ineligible applications. SBA has not announced plans to implement this recommendation.
- EIDL oversight. GAO recommended in March 2021 that SBA implement a comprehensive oversight plan for EIDL to ensure program integrity. SBA agreed to implement such a plan.
- Assessment of fraud risks. SBA has not conducted a formal fraud risk assessment for PPP or the EIDL program. GAO made four recommendations in March 2021, including that SBA conduct a formal assessment and develop a strategy to manage fraud risks for each program. SBA said it would work to complete fraud risk assessments for PPP and EIDL and continually monitor fraud risks.
- Financial statement audit. In December 2020, SBA’s independent financial statement auditor issued a disclaimer of opinion on SBA’s fiscal year 2020 consolidated financial statements because SBA could not provide adequate documentation to support a significant number of transactions and account balances related to PPP and EIDL.
GAO continues to review information SBA recently provided, including data on PPP loan forgiveness and details on the PPP and EIDL loan review processes. In addition, GAO has obtained additional information from a survey of PPP participating lenders, interviews with SBA’s PPP contractors, and written responses to questions provided by SBA’s EIDL contractor and subcontractors.
Why GAO Did This Study
SBA has made or guaranteed about 18.7 million loans and grants through PPP and the EIDL program, providing about $968 billion to help small businesses adversely affected by COVID-19. PPP provides potentially forgivable loans to small businesses, and EIDL provides low-interest loans of up to $2 million for operating and other expenses, as well as advances (grants).
This testimony discusses the lack of controls in PPP and the EIDL program and SBA’s efforts to improve its oversight of these programs. It is based largely on GAO’s June 2020–March 2021 reports on the federal response, including by SBA, to the economic downturn caused by COVID-19 (GAO-20-625, GAO-20-701, GAO-21-191, GAO-21-265, GAO -21-387). For those reports, GAO reviewed SBA documentation and SBA Office of Inspector General (OIG) reports; analyzed SBA data; and interviewed officials from SBA, the SBA OIG, and the Department of the Treasury.
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- Two Former Louisiana Correctional Officers Sentenced for Cover Up Following Death of an InmateBy Sam NewsMarch 11, 2021Two Louisiana women, former jail deputies, were sentenced today to over a year in prison and six months in prison respectively for their roles in covering up a civil rights violation arising out of an inmate’s death at the St. Bernard Parish Prison (SBPP).[Read More…]
- Opening Remarks at the Virtual Leaders Summit on ClimateBy Sam NewsApril 22, 2021Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
- U.S.-Canada High-Level Ministerial Dialogue on Climate AmbitionBy Sam NewsFebruary 24, 2021
- Justice Department Announces Additional Distribution of more than $488 Million to Victims of Madoff Ponzi SchemeBy Sam NewsDecember 10, 2020The Department of Justice announced today that the Madoff Victim Fund (MVF) began its sixth distribution of approximately $488 million in funds forfeited to the U.S. Government in connection with the Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (BLMIS) fraud scheme, bringing the total distributed to almost $3.2 billion to nearly 37,000 victims worldwide.[Read More…]
- Remarks at World Economic Forum, Davos 2021By Sam NewsJanuary 29, 2021John Kerry, Special [Read More…]
- Remarks by Attorney General William P. Barr at the Major Cities Chiefs Association ConferenceBy Sam NewsOctober 16, 2020I appreciate the invitation to address this group. I want to start by thanking you, and the men and women you lead, for serving in what I think is the most noble profession in our country – enforcing the law and keeping our communities safe.[Read More…]
- Virginia Man Pleads Guilty to Enticement, Child Pornography ChargesBy Sam NewsAugust 4, 2020A Virginia man who used an online chat website to engage in sexually explicit conversations with a 12-year-old minor female and later induced the victim to engage in sexually explicit behavior over video chat, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Virginia to a pair of federal charges, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Thomas T. Cullen for the Western District of Virginia.[Read More…]
- Owner of Michigan Payroll Tax Services Firm Charged With Employment Tax FraudBy Sam NewsAugust 19, 2020A federal grand jury in Detroit, Michigan, returned an indictment today charging a Farwell, Michigan, businessman with failing to pay payroll taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and failing to file his own returns, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider for the Eastern District of Michigan.[Read More…]
- Chief Justice Roberts Issues 2020 Year-End ReportBy Sam NewsIn U.S CourtsDecember 31, 2020Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., has issued his 2020 Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary.[Read More…]