Braddock chief suspects organized fraud network operation after KDKA investigation into PPP loans – CBS Pittsburgh

BRADDOCK, Pa. (KDKA) – That’s the talk from the town of Braddock: Nearly three dozen residents are receiving tens of thousands of dollars each in paycheck protection loans despite no visible signs of current or previous job.

Are the claims legitimate? Or have over 30 people from the underdog Braddock and parts of North Braddock tried to play with the system?

So KDKA started knocking on doors trying to find out how. How, in the last days of April, were these people approved for tens of thousands of dollars each in P3s – the federal government’s payroll protection program. The first thing we found was that many of them weren’t living at the address they had filed under which, according to property records, had different owners.

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All of the recipients applied as sole proprietors, which means they typically own and operate a business themselves. Each of them claimed the maximum and forgivable loan of $ 20,833, claiming they would have made at least $ 100,000 in sales in any given year without COVID.

Several have listed these businesses as barbers and hairdressers, but we checked, and none of them operate a store or are state licensed as a barber or cosmetologist as required by law. This includes a woman who was approved for up to two loans over $ 40,000 as a hairdresser.

Women: “She doesn’t live here.”
Sheehan: “Well, she gets a loan at this address.”
Women: “I don’t know, sir.
Sheehan: “Is she a hair cutter?”
Women: “No, she’s not.”

A man applied for a loan of $ 20,000, although we verified that he was unlicensed and did not have a store. Neighbors say they don’t know he’s cutting anyone’s hair. He, like many others, did not come to the door.

In another house that is vacant and abandoned, a woman who claims to live there earns $ 20,000 as a self-catering contractor.

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We brought our findings to the attention of Braddock chief Guy Collins, who has launched his own investigation, knocking on doors and finding his own evidence of possible fraud.

“A lot of them are not allowed and some places are abandoned and businesses are non-existent. I’m finding that a lot of people here have so-called businesses that don’t exist. And apparently they asked for this PPP money and they received it, ”he said.

According to records, a woman asked for $ 20,000 as a caterer. KDKA’s Andy Sheehan spoke with a man who says it is his stepfather who found this surprising.

Sheehan: “She says she’s a caterer.”
Man: “She says she’s a caterer?”
Sheehan: “Is she a caterer?”
Man: “Not that I know of.”

The chief says he is turning the matter over to the US attorney’s office for investigation, believing that an organized fraud ring is operating in his town.

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“If you have that many people in this general area, I would say there has to be some kind of connection,” Collins said.

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