DENVER — The U.S. Secret Service returned approximately $286 million in fraudulently obtained Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) to the Small Business Administration (SBA) on Friday.
These recovered funds were generated by fraudulently submitted EIDL loan applications using fabricated or stolen employment and personal information.
“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,” said Assistant Director David Smith. “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.”
The investigation was Initiated by the Secret Service Field Office in Orlando, Florida. It was revealed that conspirators utilized Green Dot Bank (GDB), a third-party payment system, and issuer of Green Dot debit cards to conceal and move criminal proceeds. Working with GDB, the Secret Service was able to identify over 15,000 accounts used in the conspiracy and seize $286 million contained in these fraudulent accounts.
After having identified the suspected fraudulent accounts with GDB, the Secret Service approached the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado. The District of Colorado has a venue for all Economic Injury Disaster Loans issued by SBA based on its Finance Center being located in Colorado. The U.S. Attorney’s Office then obtained a warrant with the District Court that led to the seizure of over 15,000 accounts with $286 million from Green Dot Bank.
“Working closely with our Central and North Florida Cyber Fraud Task Forces, this investigation enabled the recovery of a significant amount of critical federal relief,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Roy Dotson, the lead investigator for the Secret Service.
Since 2020, the Secret Service has seized over $1.4 billion in fraudulently obtained funds and assisted in returning approximately $2.3 billion to state unemployment insurance programs. The Secret Service has additionally initiated more than 3,850 pandemic-related fraud investigations and investigative inquiries.