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On April 21, 2021, the Department of Justice (DOJ) inked its second civil settlement resolving allegations of fraud involving loans issued pursuant to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Sandeep S. Walia, M.D., a Professional Medical Corporation (Walia PMC), and its owner, Dr. Walia, agreed to pay $70,000 in damages and penalties to resolve alleged violations of the False Claims Act (FCA) tied to allegations that Dr. Walia falsely certified in a second PPP loan application that his medical practice had not previously received a PPP loan after it had already received one from a different lender.  Walia PMC also agreed to repay the second PPP loan for $430,000.  This latest settlement is a continued reflection of the heightened scrutiny of the PPP, and suggests that the FCA may quickly become a favored enforcement tool by the government in its continued pursuit of PPP-related fraud.
Continue Reading Avoiding Loan Forgiveness Is No Shield from False Claims Act Liability in Latest Paycheck Protection Program Fraud Settlement

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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has added emergency loans for small businesses to its list of government programs vulnerable to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement. On March 2, 2021, GAO released its latest High Risk List identifying troubled federal government programs in need of significant improvement. The GAO concluded that the Small Business Administration (SBA) must demonstrate more robust integrity controls and better management practices over the PPP and EIDL programs. GAO’s findings put pressure on the SBA to ensure quicker adoption of GAO’s recommendations for improvements and keeps public focus on the need for SBA audits and investigations of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program participants.
Continue Reading GAO’s High Risk List Puts Spotlight on Emergency Loans For Small Businesses, Reinforcing Audit and Investigation Risk for PPP and EIDL Program Participants

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From the inception of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), borrowers questioned the meaning of the economic necessity certification that the Small Business Administration (SBA) required borrowers to make in the PPP loan application. While the SBA provided some definition to this certification in such Frequently Asked Questions as FAQs 31, 37, and 46, uncertainty remained.

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On October 2, 2020 (almost two months after the August 10, 2020 commencement of the acceptance period for forgiveness applications), the Small Business Administration (SBA) released an SBA Procedural Notice (the “Notice”) concerning required procedures for change of ownership of an entity that has received PPP loans (the “PPP Borrower”). Under the Notice, SBA approval

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On August 4, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) released a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) addressing numerous technical issues on PPP Loan Forgiveness. On August 11, 2020, the FAQs were updated to include additional guidance for recipients of both PPP Loans and Economic Injury Disaster Loans.

The following are the major takeaways from the

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On July 28, 2020, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a report titled, “Serious Concerns of Potential Fraud in the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program Pertaining to the Response to COVID-19.” The report identifies and summarizes OIG’s “serious concerns” of potential fraud and calls for “immediate attention and

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On July 6, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has made publicly available various types of information about all Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, and targeted media scrutiny has immediately followed. For loans of $150,000 and above, the SBA has released the loan range (e.g., $150,000 – 350,000, $1,000,000 – 2,000,000, $5,000,000 – 10,000,000) and

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On Wednesday June 17th, SBA and Treasury issued a revised Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness application implementing the extended 24-week “covered period” and the reduction in payroll cost limitation on forgiveness from 75% to 60% of costs, per the PPP Flexibility Act of 2020 enacted June 5, 2020.  In addition to revising

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On June 11, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) posted a new interim final rule (the IFR) which clarifies certain key changes made to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) by the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 (Act). We addressed in a previous alert how the Act, signed into law on June 5, 2020,

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On June 5, 2020, President Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, which makes important changes to many aspects of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), including extending the minimum maturity period, extending the forgiveness period, reducing the payroll cost limitation on forgiveness, while eliminating forgiveness if such reduced threshold is not