Braddock, a tiny borough in Pennsylvania, is at the heart of a suspected fraud network.
The United States Department of Justice has convicted similar rings around the country, and the agency admits that the fraud is pervasive.
More than a dozen people got tens of thousands of dollars in coronavirus relief funding for small companies, despite the fact that KDKA discovered no evidence of those firms' existence. However, after pretending to be unemployed beauticians, barbers, and caterers, each of the filers was authorized for the maximum $20,000 in PPP.
Braddock Police Chief Guy Collins launched his own investigation when KDKA notified him, determining that an organized fraud ring is functioning in his community.
Similar networks have been charged by the Department of Justice from Rhode Island to California in the last year. The highest was for $24 million in stolen monies in Ohio and Florida, where operators made fraudulent claims for 90 non-existent firms and received bribes from those who received the payments.
Collins believes that's what happened in Braddock: someone filed the majority of the false claims on behalf of consenting people and then earned a big fee. Despite the fact that records reveal one guy was authorized for the maximum loan as a caterer, he claims to be a victim of identity theft.