According to an inspector general report released on Monday, the Small Business Administration (SBA) may have unintentionally given $1.3 billion in COVID-19 relief to residents of other nations.
The Daily Caller reported that the research indicates that SBA failed to accurately identify some foreign IP address applicants, including those from "high-risk" nations.
"The federal government's response to COVID was panicked and not thought out," E.J. Antoni, an economics fellow at The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
"The careless, shotgun approach to disbursing unneeded aid was an invitation for fraud, both at home and abroad," Antoni went on.
The study stated that certain Americans and aliens who reside abroad may have been eligible for EIDL relief provided they "meet certain eligibility requirements," but it did not specify what those requirements were.
According to the report, there was a higher risk of fraud in the program "because of the history of fraud originating from transnational crime organizations that have stolen funds from U.S programs in the past.
The EIDL report established under the Trump administration after the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act was passed in March 2020. According to the article, it was renewed in two further coronavirus aid packages, including the American Rescue Plan approved by President Joe Biden.
According to the study, SBA engaged a contractor who handled relief petitions and advised SBA loan officers or teams on whether they should approve them. According to the article, the agency stopped receiving COVID-19 EIDL applications on January 1, 2022, and the program's portal was shut down in May.