The U.S. Secret Service said August 26 that it has recovered and returned to the Small Business Administration (SBA) $286 million of funds that were stolen from the government through fraudulent filings made for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL).

The loan funding was illegally obtained through the use of “fabricated or stolen employment and personal information,” the Secret Service said.

The Secret Service said it worked closely with Green Dot Bank to find over 15,000 accounts associated with the fraudulent loan claims over a 30-month period, and seize $286 million held in those accounts. Green Dot Bank issues debit cards, which were being used to conceal and move the stolen funds, the government said.

“We applaud the hard work and dedication of the Secret Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the District of Colorado and Middle District of Florida,” said Kevin Chambers, the Department of Justice’s Director for COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement.

“This is an important step in returning stolen funds to the American people. This forfeiture effort and those to come are a direct and necessary response to the unprecedented size and scope of pandemic relief fraud,” he said.

Secret Service Assistant Director David Smith said the latest seizure of stolen funds puts the agency’s total for seizures of fraudulently obtained funds to more than $1.4 billion, along with returning $2.3 to state unemployment insurance programs.

“The Secret Service is dedicated to safeguarding the integrity of the nation’s financial systems against fraud and holding those responsible to account for their criminal activity,” Smith said. “By aiding in the return of nearly $2.3 billion in stolen funds over the last 30 months, our workforce has demonstrated a clear and firm commitment to the vitality of American businesses across the country.”

Inspector Hannibal Ware of the SBA’s Office of Inspector General commented, “Through intentional collaborations like this, OIG will continue to ensure that taxpayer dollars obtained through fraudulent means will be returned to taxpayers and fraudsters involved face justice.”

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Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.