JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Mississippi announced a civil investigation against fraud involving the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

This follows the office recovering millions of dollars in more than 150 False Claims Act cases. According to U.S. Attorney Clay Joyner, the office has the most fraud cases involving PPP loans of any federal district in the United States.

PPP loans fall under the scope of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act. According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the CARES Act established PPP loans to provide small businesses funds to cover eight weeks’ worth of payroll, rent, utilities, and interest on mortgages during the start of the Coronavirus pandemic as many businesses shut down and laid off workers. 

In a press release published Wednesday, Joyner expressed his office’s commitment to investigating instances of PPP loans used or requested fraudulently. 

“We anticipate focusing on PPP fraud for several years to come and are proud to be recovering tax-payer money. We will not allow fraud schemes to remain unchecked in our district,” Joyner said. 

Mississippi received $1.25 billion from the CARES Act in 2020. Under the False Claims Act, the Federal Government can recover triple the amount given in the PPP loan. Joyner also cites in his office’s press release that the statute of limitation civil and criminal fraud action is up to 10 years, or as late as 2031, for PPP loan cases.