Whistleblower actions (also known as qui tam actions) can be brought anytime an individual or an organization defrauds the government. There is no “one size fits all” with qui tam actions, but since the COVID-19 pandemic, persons and organizations defrauding the government have been on the rise.
Particularly, a space has opened up for whistleblowers regarding the pandemic era Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP was a forgivable loan made to small businesses to ensure employees would stay on payroll, meant to encourage employee retention and keep people financially afloat. PPP loans must be used for payroll, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities; they can be forgiven only if they were spent on these expenses within a given amount of time and at least 60 percent of the total PPP loan distributed went to payroll expenses. It was vitally important to get these loans out for America’s small businesses, but because of their minimum underwriting needs – part of the effort to get them out widespread and quickly – many fraudulent applications went through. Businesses that did not use PPP loans to maintain payroll, pay for mortgage interest, rent and utilities, or have duplicate loans might not be eligible for loan forgiveness, and may in fact be defrauding the government. If so, they could be targets for a qui tam investigation.
DO YOU KNOW A PERSON OR COMPANY ENGAGING IN PPP FRAUD?
To learn more about these issues, or if you know a person or organization that may have abused their PPP loans and defrauded the government, please contact one of our attorneys using our general contact form, call us at (856) 772-7200, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org