Countless establishments worldwide are confronting unexpected challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the closure of businesses, the bankruptcy of several prominent companies, and the disruption of travel worldwide, it seems that the threat of global economic instability looms large on all nations. In the early weeks of this unprecedented issue, the United States government responded with a massive $2.2 trillion stimulus package, part of which aims to support U.S. workers and smaller businesses that have significantly struggled to adjust to such a devastating change. While the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is certainly valuable in that it halts or delays permanent closure and generates disincentives to lay off employees, it has also made way for well-resourced companies to make false claims of financial need.
Taking Advantage of a Strained System
When the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) contained within the stimulus package was passed by Congress, and later signed by the President on March 27, 2020, small business owners were relieved to apply, certifying their eligibility for the loan program. Given the uncertainty of the existing economic conditions, it is reasonable for such entities to seek government help. The trouble is when companies make false certifications to obtain money they do not need, leaving hundreds of thousands of small businesses left out.
With money allotted to the program gone within the first two weeks, controversies have intensified involving big restaurant chains, such as Shake Shack, being spared at the expense of many small businesses.
Action to Take
As we approach an anticipated surge in cases alleging fraud related to the $2.2 trillion stimulus package and COVID-19-related relief, the fight against corporate greed will only continue. Under the False Claims Act, applicants who knowingly present a false or fraudulent claim—including a fraudulent request for a government loan like those from the PPP—can be held civilly liable. Since the stimulus package was signed and approved by the President, the Department of Justice has prioritized investigations of COVID-19 related fraud and has urged Americans to report it. Members of the public can do just that, filing suit on the government’s behalf under the False Claims Act, with the help of a qui tam lawyer.
How Do We Fight Corporate Greed?
Seek justice on behalf of taxpayers with the help of our experienced attorneys. Our Dallas, Texas, qui tam legal team has battled corporate giants on behalf of taxpayers like you for 20 years, aggressively fighting to hold companies and individuals accountable for fraud committed against the government. If you believe you have a whistleblower case, we can help.