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33 non-existent businesses tied to 1 Denver office got millions in COVID-19 relief money

9Wants to Know uncovered someone has revived more than 30 defunct businesses on paper to obtain more than $2 million in COVID-19 relief loans funded by taxpayers.

Jeremy Jojola, Zack Newman

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Published: 11:45 AM MST December 13, 2021
Updated: 7:43 PM MST December 16, 2021

From an old dog training company to a VHS rental shop, 33 Colorado nonexistent and defunct businesses were approved for more than $2 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgivable loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA).

9Wants to Know traced the 33 business entities to a single office suite in Denver, and most are registered to a Gregory J. Folk.

Federal investigators said scammers have been reviving “dormant” businesses on paper and fooling the government into believing the money is going to real entities.

Credit: KUSA

“We've seen this in small town America, people just trying to see if they can get away with it one time,” said Amanda Prestegard with the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Denver. “We are seeing this in all corners of the country.”

A recent congressional report revealed that fraudsters may have swindled $84 billion from the PPP and Economic Injury Disaster Loan programs in 2020. The program handed out about $953 billion in all.

The authors of this article discovered the scheme after searching for anomalies through publicly disclosed databases of millions of small businesses that received PPP loans. The money was supposed to help small businesses pay employees during the pandemic.

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