US Feds found foreign IP addresses applying for COVID funds, including Samoa


More than $100,000USD was disbursed to at least three applicants using an IP address for Samoa, from federal COVID funds allocated to the U.S Small Business Administration (SBA) through the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. 

Samoa News Reports this is according to data outlined in a 38-page SBA Inspector General Evaluation Report, issued this week, following an audit and review of the EIDL for the period of March 2020, to November 12, 2021. 

The report states in part that SBA received millions of attempts to submit COVID-19 EIDL applications from foreign IP addresses and stopped most of them; however, the agency processed more than 233,000 of these applications — which SBA approved and disbursed 41,638 COVID-19 EIDLs, advances, and grants totalling $1.3 billion.

EIDL relief eligibility, in accordance with federal law, is limited to U.S. citizens, noncitizen nationals, and qualified foreigners. 

Therefore, those applicants located at foreign IP addresses could be legitimate if they controlled at least a 20% share of an eligible entity, were adversely affected by the COVID-19, were located in the United States or U.S. territories, and in business on or before January 31, 2020. 

“Although individuals who reside overseas may qualify for the assistance if they meet the eligibility requirements, the fraud risk was high because of the history of fraud originating from transnational criminal organizations that have stolen funds from U.S programs in the past,” the report says.