WASHINGTON — Computer errors caused the government to hand out duplicate loans to thousands of borrowers under the Trump administration’s program to rescue businesses from the economic ravages of the coronavirus pandemic.
While the Paycheck Protection Program has been subject to fraud, the revelations contained in a new report by the inspector general of the Small Business Administration speak instead to a faulty — and costly — implementation.
Aging federal technology may have hampered the SBA’s inability to track and cross-reference loans. Two years ago, the Government Accountability Office found that information systems across the federal government were badly outdated. Some computer hardware at the SBA was a decade old, that investigation found.
A series of malfunctions took place in the spring and summer of 2020, resulting in millions of taxpayer dollars being handed out inadvertently as duplicate loans. In all, SBA Inspector General Mike Ware found, banks authorized to issue PPP loans “made more than one PPP disbursement to 4,260 borrowers, which totaled about $692 million and involved 8,731 PPP loans.”