Palm Beach's Top Prosecutor Forms Paycheck Protection Program Task Force

PPP Paycheck Protection Program as SBA loan written on the mask and money.

Photo: iStockphoto

A new task force has been formed by Palm Beach County's State Attorney to help the FBI find criminals who stole COVID relief funds.

Dave Aronberg announced the Paycheck Protection Task Force on Wednesday, but admitted that much of that stolen money is likely gone for good.

"It's harder to get the money back because the money's often spent. But we can put handcuffs around people and that makes a big difference. And then you'd be surprised how that will influence others who may have defrauded the government to start repaying the money they defrauded."

The PPP was federal money, backed by the Small Business Administration, to help keep businesses open during the pandemic. But law enforcement discovered that loans were going to the wrong people.

Aronberg says he doesn't know how much fraud exists in Palm Beach.

But task force members have already worked on cases that led to two arrests on Paycheck Protection fraud.

The most recent case involved a Boynton Beach man who is charged with stealing more than $400,000 as a loan for a business that prosecutors say doesn't exist.

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