Officials still cannot say exactly how many billions of dollars in Paycheck Protection Program loans fraudsters made off with in the past couple of years, but they know it is a lot.
Reports and estimates vary, but multiple inspectors general have said the total value of the fraudulently obtained loans through the Paycheck Protection Program is likely to total in the billions. A total of $800 billion was earmarked for relief by the Small Business Administration during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I can't rule out that the fraud could be not only in the tens of billions, but maybe, as some have estimated, upwards of $100 billion," Department of Justice Inspector General and Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) Chair Michael Horowitz told Fox News. "But it's too early for me to tell you how high that number is going to go. I know it's in the billions."
Fox News spoke with Inspector General Horowitz in his capacity as chair of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, where he leads a roundtable of the government’s inspectors general on chasing down fraud and inefficiencies in pandemic relief programs. The group is working on collecting data and making government-wide recommendations to avoid waste and criminality in future crises.