LAKELAND, Florida (WFLA) – Many small business owners struggled to get federal aid to help businesses stay afloat after the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, crooks use identity theft to apply for and obtain credit, leaving huge funds behind on other people’s behalf.
This happened to Cynthia Lommel from Lakeland. The 70-year-old retiree has never owned a business, but the Small Business Administration approved a $ 150,000 loan on her behalf.
“It’s crazy,” said Lommel. “I can’t believe this was approved and nobody called me to get back to me or tell me that this was approved. Can you imagine what the $ 150,000 loan payment would be? “
Lommel says she discovered the loan on her behalf because she often did credit checks and found that the Small Business Administration had made a loan application. She called the SBA to find out why and was informed about the loan.
She says the person who applied used a New Jersey address even though they live in Lakeland and the money was sent to the Virgin Islands.
“This is money meant to help American companies and their employees,” she said.
Coronavirus relief fraud rife, a congressional investigation this week found more than $ 1 billion intended to help small businesses fall into the wrong hands.
Cynthia says SBA’s fraud department has assured her that she will not have to repay the money, but she will not provide anything in writing of what she wants in the event that this credit problem arises in the future.
A spokesman for the SBA tells Investigative Consumer Reporter Shannon Behnken that he has sent questions about Lommel’s loan to the lawyers and that someone will be in touch with Lommel to obtain this written confirmation of fraud.
“It took me a long time to move across the country and buy a house here. It’s the only thing I leave my kids and I don’t want them to come back and find out that the house has been seized for $ 150,000 or that other things will happen after I leave, ”Lommel said. “I want it to be resolved now.”
With fraud on the rise, it is recommended that you do a credit check to make sure you don’t see anything that shouldn’t be there.
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