The two new laws will extend the time period prosecutors have to prosecute individuals who committed fraud through the Paycheck Protection Program or Covid-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, extending the statute of limitations for criminal and civil enforcement against a borrower to 10 years.
During a signing event held on the balcony of the White House on Friday, Biden underscored that it was “essential to extend the statute of limitations for certain pandemic fraud … to 10 years to make sure fraudsters can’t run out the clock.”
“My message to those cheats out there is this: You can’t hide. We’re going to find you. We’re going to make you pay back what you stole and hold you accountable under the law,” the President said.
In his remarks, Biden squarely blamed his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, for failing to promote safeguards against defrauding Covid-19 economic relief programs.
“Not only did the Trump administration let the biggest businesses with the teams of lawyers and accountants to the front of the line, my predecessor undermined the watchdogs who were supposed to be on the job to make sure relief went to the mom and pop businesses that were supposed to get in the first place,” said Biden, who was delivering remarks outdoors due to a rebound positive case of Covid-19. “In my State of the Union address, I made it clear: The watchdogs are back.”
“American people deserve to know whether their tax dollars are being spent as intended,” he said.
In the years since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, federal prosecutors have continued to identify fraud related to pandemic relief funds.