President Joe Biden signed a pair of bills to assist prosecutors' crackdown on pandemic relief frauds.
The PPP and Bank Fraud Enforcement Harmonization Act of 2022 and the COVID-19 EIDL Fraud Statute of Limitations Act of 2022 were both recently passed with bipartisan support in Congress.
The bills will extend the statute of limitations for prosecuting cases of fraud against the government to 10 years. The law aims to give prosecutors more time to investigate potential crimes.
At his State of the Union address earlier this year, Biden announced the appointment of a special prosecutor within the Department of Justice to oversee fraudulent COVID-19 relief claims.
Federal officials identified $78.1 billion in potentially fraudulent EIDL loans and grants that were given to ineligible entities, as well as $6.7 billion in loans and grants related to identity theft allegations.
The government also identified 70,835 loans totaling over $4.6 billion in potentially fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program loans.
EIDL loans and grants provided up to $2 million per company for working capital, such as payroll and utilities, during the onset of the pandemic.
The Paycheck Protection Program was intended to help businesses make payroll during the pandemic, with those loans being forgiven if companies met specific criteria.