More than half of the money from the Paycheck Protection Program went to just 5% of recipients

  • Over half the funds from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) went to just 5% of total recipients.
  • In the past, Republicans have said the program has been working as intended, but banks have reported record business-loan fraud suspicion in the months of June and July. 
  • The program has been marred with issues, including fraud and large companies receiving funds.
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Over half the funds from the US' Paycheck Protection Program went to just 5% of recipients, according to new data released by the Treasury Department on Tuesday. 

Around 600 large companies "including dozens of national chains, received the maximum amount allowed under the program of $10 million,"according to the Washington Post, which had to file a lawsuit to acquire the data via a Freedom of Information Act request. Law firms and churches also received the maximum amount. 

Officials from both the Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration have previously said the program had worked the way it was intended, with 87% of loans totalling $150,000 or less. However, the new data shows that only 28% of the $552 billion distributed were for smaller loans.

The program was initially created to help small business pay their employees after the coronavirus pandemic led to mass layoffs in March.  The loans could also be forgiven (if they hit certain criteria) making them especially helpful to businesses who were unsure about their ability to repay.

While the PPP has been estimated to help save anywhere between 1.4 million and 3.2 million jobs, it has been plagued by fraud and other issues.

Read More: The winners of the next round of federal relief funds will be airlines, restaurants, and businesses owned by women or people of color. Here's what to expect in the coming months.

A Florida man was charged in July for allegedly spending $3.9 million from the program on a Lamborghini and other lavish items.

In September, House Democrats sent out a memo saying the PPP was susceptible to "fraud, waste, or abuse" because normal oversight was removed in order to get loans out sooner. That same month, banks released a report showing an increase of suspected business-loan fraud during both June and July, when PPP loans were being issued. 

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