On August 5, President Biden signed two bills into law that extend to ten years the statute of limitations for civil and criminal enforcement actions for fraud on the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (“EIDL”). These two bills—the PPP and Bank Fraud Enforcement Harmonization Act of 2022 and the COVID-19 EIDL Fraud Statute of Limitations Act of 2022—were both passed by Congress with bipartisan support.
The new laws show that the government will be prosecuting COVID-19 relief fraud for the foreseeable future. The government has already brought dozens of civil and criminal enforcement actions for PPP and EIDL fraud, with more enforcement actions being brought every week. The government’s internal review of PPP and EIDL loans have already flagged tens of thousands of potentially fraudulent loans totaling several billion dollars, giving the government plenty of opportunities to continue enforcement through the rest of the ten-year limitations period. The ten-year limitations period also gives the government additional time to investigate larger fraud schemes, and to consider investigations into lenders on theories that they may have facilitated fraudulent loans through lax application review procedures. If companies and individuals who applied for and received government-sponsored pandemic relief funding have not conducted due diligence to ensure those funds were properly received, used, and potentially forgiven, now is the time to do it.