by Getty Images

Federal officials announced an expansion of efforts to identify and support the SBA Inspector General’s recovery of fraudulently obtained COVID economic relief funds and to prevent potential future theft of taxpayer dollars.

Representative of 32.5 million small American businesses and head of the Small Buisness Administration, Isabella Casillas Guzmán announced the expansion Friday. According to the SBA, recognizing managing fraud risk in agency programs and operations is an integral part of responsible stewardship of taxpayer resources and effective service delivery to the American public. 

The expansion in services will encompass a “multipronged approach” that is based on the current activities SBA has undertaken to limit fraud, according to the administration, who works in the Biden-Harris Administration to improve control of fraud in pandemic programs recognized by federal accountability agencies and oversight agencies. 

“During the first year of the Biden-Harris Administration, the SBA has taken important steps to close the door on fraud, waste, and abuse, and to ensure that the billions of dollars in COVID relief funded by the taxpayers fall into the hands of small business owners,” said Administrator Guzmán

Guzmán’s focus on aggressively rooting out scams targeting government programs aims to increase equity across the programs. Officials say the program will level the playing field for all entrepreneurs by ensuring eligible small business owners have full access to the capital and resources needed to start and grow their businesses. 

Peggy Delinois Hamilton was appointed to SBA's Special Business Risk Advisor to advise Administrator Guzmán regarding fraud and risk management activities across the agency. Hamilton will directly support Guzmán in developing strategies to mitigate the dynamic risks facing the agency, focusing on potential exposure to fraud such as top priority, as well as in developing plans to reduce the risks to SBA operations.

The SBA also created a Fraud Risk Management Board (FRMB), comprised of experienced agency executives across the SBA enterprise to provide anti-fraud oversight and coordination. It was established as the designated anti-fraud entity responsible for oversight, and coordinating SBA’s fraud risk prevention, detection, and response activities.

The FRMB will report to the Enterprise Risk Management Board (ERM Board) and, through the ERM Board, to Guzmán. In coordination with the oversight community, the FRMB will take additional steps to assess and address fraud risk agency-wide. 

“Together, we will hold violators accountable and close future avenues of fraud,” Guzman said. 

The SBA has collaborated with other agencies across the federal government, and use the whole-of-government approach to reduce risks to control and mitigate fraud risks in its COVID-19 related relief programs. Their fraud risk management framework supports information sharing across SBA programs. Fraud indicators can be applied across various SBA programs, utilizing a whole-of-SBA approach to preventing, detecting, and responding to fraud risks. 

“The SBA believes that these new initiatives can strengthen the Agency's fraud risk framework and further strengthen its fraud risk mitigation efforts,” the SBA wrote in a press release.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *