he details can be complicated, but identifying fraud is pretty straightforward. It’s a lie told for money. Pretty simple.
And it doesn’t get much simpler than this scheme to defraud the government out of over $6 million.
During the pandemic, the government gave out lots of money through the Paycheck Protection Program. Billions and billions of dollars went out the door. The idea was to get money out quickly to those who needed it the most. Among the most affected by the pandemic were small businesses who couldn’t survive months of a lockdown. The one hitch–you actually had to be a small business to get some of that money.
To get the money, the business filled out a form that required them to certify that they were indeed a small business. Just check a box that the business has fewer than 500 employees. Don’t check that box unless you actually have fewer than 500 employees. See, that would be a lie. But, it’s just a small box and the government is so big, how would it ever know?
A whistleblower, that’s how. Victory Automotive applied for a PPP loan and certified that it was a small business with fewer than 500 employees. But they actually have over 3,000 employees. That’s the lie. By checking that little box, Victory received $6,282,362. There’s the money
A whistleblower noticed, informed the United States, and now Victory has to pay back $9 million to settle the claim. $9 million > $6 million. Ouch.
Meanwhile, the whistleblower pockets $1.62 million under the False Claims Act. All for doing the right thing. Not a bad day at the office.