ORLANDO, Florida – Gena Bukur was stunned when she received notifications from the US Small Business Association in October, and then again in November, reminding her of payments on an emergency loan of $ 48,000 due in August 2021.
Deferred payments are part of the SBA’s disaster relief loan protocol, but Bukur never applied for the loan and had not operated a business for 30 years.
“When they confirmed that my social security number had been used, I got a little nervous,” Bukur said. “I have two bank accounts and neither of those accounts show that I have any extra money.”
Bukur said she ran a landscaping business in the Sanford area in the 1980s, but it was a one-woman operation.
A check of state records found that she was listed as an agent of an active company, but she said this was put in place to divide the property and orange groves among 32 relatives after her death. uncle.
“We are currently in the process of dissolving the company because all of the property has been sold and there is nothing to be gained (from the land,” she wrote in an email.
This company may have been used by the impostor, but at this point investigators at the U.S. Secret Service Office in Orlando are still tracking the money and have no solid evidence of the activity used to obtain the fraudulent loan.
Special agent in charge Caroline O’Brien-Buster said she was confident agents would be able to trace the money and the person behind the SBA loan application.
“We’ll find out where the money went,” she said. “When these scammers apply for these loans, they force legitimate businesses to back down.”
News 6 shared Bukur’s case with the Secret Service, including a credit report that confirms the SBA checked his credit status before issuing the loan.
O’Brien-Buster said the case was just one of hundreds of loan fraud reports officers had been investigating since March.
National agents recovered more than $ 340 million in funds obtained through illegal loan requests.
But with every win, at least one new fraud case is reported every day.
Agents said at least 60% of fraud victims in central Florida throw loan notices in the trash because they never applied for the loans in the first place.
“Don’t blow them up,” O’Brien-Buster insisted. “If you get something with your name and address on it that says you owe the SBA money, you have to take it seriously!”
O’Brien-Buster said Bukur would not be held responsible for the loan.
She said anyone who suspects they have been a victim of identity theft should check their credit, freeze all accounts and report the fraud to the SBA and the U.S. Secret Service.
If you believe your identity was used to apply for an SBA loan, you can contact the Secret Service at this email: [email protected]
You can report fraud, waste, mismanagement, or misconduct involving ASB programs or employees, either online or by calling the OIG toll-free hotline at (800) 767-0385.
If you have a question regarding an SBA loan or SBA program, contact your local SBA district office or the SBA response office at 1-800-U-ASK-SBA (1-800-827-5722) or answerdesk @ sba .gov (link sends email).
For any other unemployment problem, send an e-mail to: [email protected]
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