Plenty of Blame to Go Around: Who is to Blame for The Biggest Fraud in American History?

Over the last year, we have written extensively at the breadth of fraud associated with the Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Programs during the COVID-19 Pandemic. In recent weeks, the US Small Business Administration Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a scathing report of the performance of the US SBA during the COVID-19 Pandemic and its attention to fraud during the PPP program. Not only are some small business owners and some lenders to blame for fraud, so is the US Small Business Administration. Clearly, they failed to adequately do their part in preventing fraud, ultimately leading to what some have called the biggest fraud in the history of the United States.

By Thomas Tramaglini, Managing Director at BRP Onesta info@BRPOnesta.com www.backofficedepot.com www.thomastramaglini.com About Thomas Tramaglini

How bad was the fraud?

Bad. In past articles we have highlighted the many FRONTLINE ZEROES OF THE PANDEMIC. That is, the countless losers who have defrauded the people of the United States by using a host of strategies to collectively secure millions of dollars and in most cases misappropriately use the funds which were to keep America’s businesses open. In a previous article, we underscored this from a report made by Ken Dilanian and Laura Strickler of NBC.

They called it the largest fraud in the history of the United Stated:

“Even if the highest estimates are inflated, the total fraud in all Covid relief funds amounts to a mind-boggling sum of taxpayer money that could rival the $579 billion in federal funds included in President Joe Biden’s massive 10-year infrastructure spending plan, according to prosecutors, government watchdogs and private experts who are trying to plug the leaks.

“Nothing like this has ever happened before,” said Matthew Schneider, a former U.S. attorney from Michigan who is now with Honigman LLP. “It is the biggest fraud in a generation.”

Most of the losses are considered unrecoverable, but there is still a chance to stanch the bleeding, because federal officials say $600 billion is still waiting to go out the door. The Biden administration imposed new verification rules last year that administration officials say appear to have made a difference in curbing fraud. But they acknowledge that programs in 2020 sacrificed security for speed, needlessly.”1

What the cases of COVID-19 Loan Fraud demonstrated

While there are a bunch of cases which have different ways in which PPP or EIDL fraud were conducted, the justice department has already brought criminal charges against hundreds of small business owners for fraud since 2020. The Biden Administration currently has implemented tougher oversight and investigation since Biden took office which has shown hundreds of millions in fraud were committed – More is to come.

What have been the lenses of COVID-19 fraud which have been prosecuted?

A nice overview of the Justice Department’s investigations have been made by the Project on Government Oversight (POGO). They have kept a great database on their website here:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Z8p-hj2E_VgM3-lRo4eG2CI__iKpiu4UK_SRPqRI7sU/edit#gid=0. A review of their database suggests the following were the main cases of COVID-19 fraud:

  • Accused individuals allegedly falsified payroll documentation to justify either getting a loan or getting a bigger loan than they were eligible for;
  • Accused individuals allegedly created fake tax documents used for verifying details in loan applications;
  • Accused individuals allegedly created bogus companies to get loans;
  • Accused individuals allegedly used defunct companies to get loans;
  • Accused individuals used stolen identities or aliases while applying for loans;
  • Accused individuals allegedly falsified ownership of existing legitimate businesses;
  • Accused individuals also obtained Economic Injury Disaster loans (some of these individuals have been accused of fraudulently obtaining these loans as well).

More of the article can be found here

Who is to blame for the fraud?

This is an interesting question: But there is plenty of blame to go around. While we could explore this topic on many angles, we have selected three main areas: small business owners, lenders, and the US SBA.

Small Business Owners

Small business owners have extensively been prosecuted for fraud in the aforementioned areas and others. What is clear, many small business owners tried to take advantage of the Federal Government. What is not understood is how these people thought they were not going to be cross-checked from the IRS on data such as 940/941.

If there is thing, small business owners were eager to get help that was needed. However, some small business owner clearly saw opportunity to score some easy and free money.

We have underscores other things small business owners did which regard the level of stupidly or ineptitude.

Articles

Maseratis, Jaguars, Mercedes, Investments, Swimming Pools…. Getting Caught for PPP/EIDL Fraud.

Getting Caught: Small Business Owners Committing EIDL and PPP Fraud.

Fake 940/941s, More Lamborghinis, Rolexes and Real Estate Oh My.

The Frontline Zeroes of the Pandemic.

Lenders

Without a doubt, many lenders were to blame for much of the PPP fraud. Banks, who generally oversee SBA loans make the process to acquire loans very difficult continued tough oversight during the Pandemic. However, other lenders like FINTECH companies have been blamed for poor oversight, and at a minimum have been investigated for allowing PPP loans to be fraudulently received.

Bloomberg reported about a University of Texas at Austin study in 2021 that Fintechs were found to be five times more likely to ok suspicious PPP loans.

As a company who sent many of its client’s applications to lenders including FINTECHs, we could clearly see the level of oversight differences. For instance, PNC Bank required much more back up for their loans and reviewed documentation with a fine-tooth comb. Other lenders like Cross River Bank prided themselves in using technology to speed up the review process. Clearly, one can see how many more SBA loans would be provided if banks did “technologically driven automation” to underwrite and review loan applications.

Clearly, there is much blame to go around, but there clearly was poor oversight with many of the SBA providers. Congress has recently held hearings and brought to light these issues.

Small Business Administration

While policy makers in Congress were quick to point fingers at the lenders and further call for going after fraudulent business owners, The United States Small Business Administration is one who many have suggested to share the blame.

In May the SBA Inspector General issued a report which reviewed PPP loans and how the SBA contributed to what is considered one of the best and worst government programs ever.

Among the findings, the Office of the Inspector General found:

  • There were no established procedures for PPP which could track and address potentially fraudulent applications. Therefore, lenders, many of who were not equipped with trained underwriting staff were left to look for fraud or accuracy.
  • There were no fraud risk frameworks established before the program was released.
  • The SBA was unable to handle the speed of which the program was delivered and employed.
  • Lenders had little guidance for how to handle certain situations, such as finding multiple processes to handle cautionary reviews or uncommon questions.
  • There were few steps established which checked for the accuracy of information, such as if someone had created a false 940 or 941 form.

The full report, which can be found here, describes the COVID-19 fraud and how the SBA contributed to the fraud in the report. In the report, the Office of the Inspector General said:

“The Office of Inspector General (OIG) found that the Small Business Administration (SBA) did not have an organizational structure with clearly defined roles, responsibilities, and processes to manage and handle potentially fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans across the program. In addition, the agency did not establish a centralized entity to design, lead, and manage fraud risk. This problem occurred because the agency did not establish a sufficient fraud risk framework at the start of and throughout PPP implementation. Management stated this was partly due to the speed of the delivery of PPP and the continuous and rapid discovery of different kinds of fraud schemes. Lenders also were not always clear on how to handle PPP fraud or recover funds obtained fraudulently from the PPP that remained in the borrower’s account. SBA did not provide lenders sufficient specific guidance to effectively identify, track, address, and resolve potentially fraudulent PPP loans.

In the end of the report, the OIG recommended that the SBA establish clearly defined and detained roles, procedures and adopt procedures for finding fraudulent loans.

References

1 – https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/justice-department/biggest-fraud-generation-looting-covid-relief-program-known-ppp-n1279664

Dr. Thomas Tramaglini is the Managing Director for BRP Onesta, a company that supports small businesses. By offering a host of important and affordable services that small business owners tend to not have time to do themselves, the team at BRP Onesta can help small businesses grow infinitely. Although located in on the famous Jersey shore, BRP Onesta serves clients in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Canada.

What Small Business Grants Are, What They Are Not, and 5 Tips for Winning Grants.

There is quite a level of interest in grants for small businesses, especially following the COVID-19 Pandemic. However, while the interest from small business owners is high, it is evident that there is a level of misconception and confusion of what small business grants are and are not. This article addresses some of the confusion about small business grants, provides several tips key to be awarded a grant, as well as provides a list of places where small business owners can go to apply for small business grants.

By Thomas Tramaglini, Managing Director at BRP Onesta
info@BRPOnesta.com
www.backofficedepot.com
www.thomastramaglini.com
About Thomas Tramaglini

What Are Small Business Grants?

Small business grants are sums of money provided by various agencies, public and private organizations, and government agencies. The sums of money provided in grants do not need to be paid back to the organization providing the grant.

Purpose – Along with most grants is purpose. That is, grants have purposes. For instance, State grants or Federal grants may focus on a bigger picture such as developing jobs or creating a new product that might help the public.

Restrictions as well as Reporting – Grants have restrictions and reporting requirements which generally ensure that the grant is being used the correct way. Further most grants have time limits for attaining results and reporting those results to an overseeing organization or entity.

Matching Funds – Many grants come along with a requirement for the organization to match the funds from the grant with their business’s funds. Matching funds can be tricky as many small business owners apply for grants with matching funds and do not even know that matching is a requirement.

What Small Business Grants Are NOT

Grants are not FREE money for small business owners to just use for their businesses for whatever reason they so choose. The grants that are typically available are not funds which are easy to get and as previously mentioned, the recipient needs to use the funds to satisfy the goals and objectives of the grant providers.

Further, typically grants are given to organizations which are stable and are not seeking funds to bridge a gap in the business’s financials. So, if you are a small business owner and you are looking for a grant that will catch your business up, don’t. In many cases, the financials (which the organization may ask for) of the company who is looking to bridge a gap or catch up will not be strong enough for the granter to send funds to the small business owner.

Where are the Small Business Grants at?

Looking for grants can be difficult. Grants can be found through specific state and local groups, non-profit organizations, as well as private groups. Usually, states and the federal government have websites or databases that list the grants that small businesses can apply for. Many of these databases can be found on departmental websites such as the US Department of Labor or State Departments of Commerce.

There are a lot of government agencies which do provide grants. However, it is important to know that business owners should really consider what they apply for before applying. This will save work and time later on when they go through the formal grant program.

Five Tips To Win Grants

  1. Provide a well-written grant application. A well written grant goes a long way. Those reviewing the grant want to see an educated, well-written grant application that is put together in a way that describes success for the grant activities hoped for with the grant of the organization.
  2. Provide complete and accurate information. Any applications for any grants which are incomplete or fail to provide accurate information can result in a negative grant outcome.
  3. Know the grant you are applying for. When a small business owner writes a grant, they need to understand what the grant is asking for and what will be done to satisfy the grant’s goals. Failure to understand what the grant is looking to achieve and what is expected will result in an automatic decline.
  4. Understand how the grant is being scored. It is important for the hopeful grantee to review the grant specs, as well as any technical assistance used to score the grant. Such an outline helps those writing the grant place what is required within the grant, helping satisfy the requirements of the grant.
  5. Bring in help if needed. If needed, do not be afraid to bring in grant writers, experts, or anyone else appropriate for the grant award. Usually, this is a requirement for most grants.

The BRP Onesta Grant Repository

The team at BRP Onesta constantly keeps up to date a list of ongoing grants, as well as a organization area for all types of grants.

The BRP Onesta Grant Repository Can Be Found Here.

Dr. Thomas Tramaglini is the Managing Director for BRP Onesta, a company that supports small businesses. By offering a host of important and affordable services that small business owners tend to not have time to do themselves, the team at BRP Onesta can help small businesses grow infinitely. Although located in on the famous Jersey shore, BRP Onesta serves clients in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Canada.

Where to Get Free Money for Your Small Businesses: Small Business Grant Portal

Without a doubt, small business owners want access to capital so they can run and grow their businesses. However, many small business owners who we speak with do not know where to start. So, to help small business owners access these free programs we have built a list of small business grants on our portal which we keep current weekly.

In this article, we provide an overview of current grant programs, highlight one current grant program, and list others that are available (scroll down)

By Thomas Tramaglini, Managing Director at BRP Onesta
info@BRPOnesta.com
www.backofficedepot.com
www.thomastramaglini.com
About Thomas Tramaglini

Is my business eligible for grant funding?

This is always a loaded question. However, most small businesses do qualify for some type of grant funding.

There are always different methods for how to find the right grant. We suggest that any small business owner looks based on:

  • Goals of grant (usually grants carry a greater mission to solve problems – for instance, grants that lead to job creation)
  • Industry – search for grants specific to your industry
  • Grants tend to address places of higher poverty

The key of looking for a grant is to not focus on just getting money. Instead, focus on how organizations that provide grants want you to spend the funds. Then, you can organize your application around how to match your business to what the organization is looking for grantees to accomplish.

Certifications – Where Grants Have Prevalence.

Does your business have a certification? Does the small business owner have a certification? Many grants are put aside for businesses that have a certification. Some of the certifications are:

  • Woman-owned small business
  • Minority-owned small business
  • Disadvantaged business enterprise
  • Veteran-owned small business

For more information on the certifications, and how to get your certification and others, click here.

7 Things Every Small Business Owner Should Be Ready for When Applying for A Grant

Grants represent a great way to access capital for a business, however there are several things which small business owners should be aware of before applying. In preparation for writing a grant, we have built an extensive, yet helpful list of important things which will help any small business owner in their pursuit of a small business grant.

This list of what to expect can be found here: Click Here.

Highlighted Grant Database: Grants.gov

For the month of May, we are highlighting the Grants.gov website.

Grants.gov warehouses thousands of different grants provided by the Federal government. Small business owners can search available grants at https://grants.gov/web/grants/search-grants.html. On the database you can look at grants by industry, funding instrument, agency, and opportunity status.

What Small Business Grants are Currently Available?

Small business grants are free money for small businesses which are provided by government, non-public, and for-profit entities. Most small business grants provide business owners an avenue to apply for a bigger goal. For instance, the US Department of Labor has hosted grants to small businesses in places of high poverty for the development of careers and creation of new jobs.

While it takes time and effort to research and apply for grants, the end game can be worth it as small business grants are funds which do not need to be paid back.

To help you get started, we always keep and refresh small business grants which are available to small business owners (https://www.backofficedepot.com/smallbusinessgrants).

Dr. Thomas Tramaglini is the Managing Director for BRP Onesta, a company that supports small businesses. By offering a host of important and affordable services that small business owners tend to not have time to do themselves, the team at BRP Onesta can help small businesses grow infinitely. Although located in on the famous Jersey shore, BRP Onesta serves clients in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Canada.

8 Affordable Small Business Financing Options for The Post Pandemic Era

While the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and the Payroll Protection Programs (PPP) were beneficial for small business owners, as they say, “all good things must come to an end.” What it does not mean is that there are not great options out there for small business owners to take advantage of. We know that traditional bank loans and lines of credit are rarely out there but that does not mean access to financing has to be hard or expensive.

In this article, we will share a list of 8 different financing products which are easy to attain, and in some cases will cost you nothing.

By Thomas W. Tramaglini, Managing Director at BRP Onesta
info@BRPOnesta.com
www.backofficedepot.com
www.thomastramaglini.com
About Thomas Tramaglini

What’s out there for small business owners?

In the post EIDL/PPP era, what is out there for small businesses? We get that question a lot from clients to we put together a list of 8 options for small business owners. Also, you can apply through our platform as we do not charge clients broker fees or add on extra origination charges, ultimately making the product more affordable than going through loan brokers or directly through a website for business funding.

Small Business Grants

Small business grants are free money for small businesses which are provided by government, non-public, and for-profit entities. Most small business grants provide business owners an avenue to apply for a bigger goal. For instance, the US Department of Labor has hosted grants to small businesses in places of high poverty for the development of careers

and creation of new jobs.

While it takes time and effort to research and apply for grants, the end game can be worth it as small business grants are funds which do not need to be paid back.

To help you get started, we always keep and refresh small business grants which are available to small business owners (https://www.backofficedepot.com/smallbusinessgrants).

Term loans

Term loans are easy to apply for and usually provide small business owners terms from 1 year out to 5 years. Approvals are based on underwriting guidelines specific to the industry, amount of loan, monthly revenue, credit score, business credit score, and time in business.

Small business term loans usually have set fixed interest rates and payments can be daily,

weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly. For most term loans under $150K the only documentation needed tends to be an application, business bank statements, as well as proof of business. Some lenders ask for taxes if your funding request is for more than $150,000 or on a case-by-case basis.

Average Range for Borrowing: $1,500 to $550,000

Rate(s): 7% – 38% APR

Credit Score Requirement: 600

To apply for pre-qualification (no credit pull) for a Small Business Term Loan Click Here.

Equipment Term Loans with Rebate

Some equipment loans carry rebates which can be advantageous for small business owners. That is, a lender will lease to the small business a piece of equipment and provide a rebate at an amount which is parallel to the costs of the equipment loan. For instance, if it is determined that the equipment loan is for $25,000, the equipment is then amortized with interest over 60 monthly payments, without origination or fees. Then, upon receipt of equipment, a rebate is provided for the business owner for the equipment at the amount the equipment costs.

What is beneficial about the loan is that to an extent, equipment is tax deductible under Chapter 179 of the IRS Tax Code so what you are paying back is tax deductible. Also beneficial is that this loan is not one that counts as an MCA position and having a longer term make the payments more affordable than traditional term loans.

Average Range for Borrowing: $20,000 to $100,000

Rate(s): 15% – 20% APR

Term(s): 5 years

Credit Score Requirement: 680

Business Credit Score: Paydex Score of 80

To apply for pre-qualification (no credit pull) for a 5 Year loan click here.

Line of Credit

Lines of credit have the most flexibility. For instance, the beauty of a line of credit is that you only draw what you need when you need to. Applications for lines of credit are fast and have

flexible terms.

Range for Borrowing: $1,500 to $250,000

Rate(s): 7% – 28% APR

Term(s): Variable

Credit Score Requirement: 680

To apply for pre-qualification (no credit pull) for a line of credit, click here.

Short Term Loan

Short term loans are those which go from 6 months to 5 years. Most short-term loans have

weekly payments and little underwriting requirements. Further, credit is less important and while rates tend to be higher for small business owners, there is minimal paperwork needed and funds can be disbursed in as fast as 1 hour.

Average Range for Borrowing: $2,500 to $500,000

Rate(s): 8.99% – 34% APR

Credit Score Requirement: 450

To apply for pre-qualification (no credit pull) for a line of credit, click here.

Consolidation Loan

Consolidation loans present a host of different options for small business owners who already have debt or would like to combine working capital already taken. There are

different consolidation programs available which small business owners can use to ensure that they have the maximum economic performance they can have.

For originators, loan consolidation is an art. There are virtually dozens of ways to consolidate loans which can be helpful. Once you apply, our team will craft an option which provides you a simple, affordable road map for consolidation and beyond.

Average Range for Borrowing: $25,000 to $500,000

Rate(s): 9.0% – 39% APR

Term(s): Up to 3 years

Credit Score Requirement: 500 and up

To apply for pre-qualification (no credit pull) for a consolidation loan, click here.

Equipment or Vehicle Loans

Perhaps one of the best loans small business owners can take is for equipment or vehicles. With relatively low rates, equipment or vehicle loans can be efficient and lower in cost than working capital loans or merchant cash advances. Plus, the benefits are that the loan does not usually go on the business owner’s personal credit and has a longer term, up to 6 years.

Further, many lenders do not count an equipment loan towards working capital loans or merchant cash advances, so small business owners may be able to acquire more capital. Some equipment and vehicle lenders may also provide additional working capital as well.

Average Range for Borrowing: $25,000 to $150,000

Rate(s): 6.0% – 21% APR

Term(s): Up to 6 Years

Credit Score Requirement: 600

To apply for pre-qualification (no credit pull) for an equipment or vehicle financing, click here.

Asset-Based Loans

Asset-based loans are loans that are collateralized with either equipment or real estate. Loans that have collateral attached to it are usually cheaper than regular term loans and less risks for lenders to provide funds.

Asset-based loans for small business owners can be a great way to access lower-cost working

capital and the terms can be beneficial as well. Also, asset-based loans usually carry simple monthly interest, which means you pay interest by the month, not the term. If the borrower pays the loan back earlier, they can save on the interest as they do not pay the months that they do not have the loan. This is a similar loan product to a line of credit.

Average Range for Borrowing: $10,000 to $500,000

Rate(s): Simple Monthly Interest (starting at 1.5% per month)

Term(s): Up to 5 Years

Credit Score Requirement: None

To apply for pre-qualification (no credit pull) for an asset-based loan, click here.

Dr. Thomas Tramaglini is the Managing Director for BRP Onesta, a company that supports small businesses. By offering a host of important and affordable services that small business owners tend to not have time to do themselves, the team at BRP Onesta can help small businesses grow infinitely. Although located in on the famous Jersey shore, BRP Onesta serves clients in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Canada.

Increased PPP/EIDL Oversight: Three Things Small Business Owners Should Do Now.

In the State of the Union Speech this past week, President Biden called for increased oversight into COVID-19 Relief fraud. This article provides some details of what the government is doing to find EIDL and PPP fraud. We include several easy steps that every business owner should take to be ready for if and when they are investigated or audited.

By Thomas Tramaglini, Managing Director at BRP Onesta
info@BRPOnesta.com
www.backofficedepot.com
www.thomastramaglini.com
About Thomas Tramaglini

Joe Biden wants to be the new ‘Sheriff” in town when it comes to Pandemic Program Fraud

In last week’s State of the Union Address, President Joe Biden announced increased investigation of fraud in the Pandemic’s Relief Programs. Both borrowers and lenders need to be aware that the federal government will continue to work with the Department of Justice to find those who abused the system.

However, it should be expected that there will be more and more investigations coming.

Politically, with the government doling over $1.2 Trillion in EIDL and PPP funding it would make sense that the Biden Administration might try to score some easy points against greedy small business owners by showing that the Administration is tough and protects the American people from fraud.

Practically, as demonstrated by the Department of Justice and other organizations such as the Federal Trade Commission, some small business owners committed fraud. However, it is my guess is that there is plenty of fraud to be found as the government does not usually go after small business owners unless they know that they can find the fraud.

How bad was the Fraud?

The purpose of this article not to describe how inherent the fraud was but from what some watchdogs are showing, it was pretty bad. However, Yahoo Finance writer Dani Romero’s post on March 4 was pretty telling:

“Data from Accountable.US, a watchdog group, found that individuals with no employees, and making over six-figures annually – but received $20,833 in PPP funding, which was the maximum by the legislation.

Separately, a new paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research reveals that was used accordingly. Of the $510 billion of PPP loans distributed in 2020, $115 billion to $175 billion went toward supporting jobs that would have otherwise have been lost, while about $335 billion to $395 billion ended up with business owners and corporate stakeholders, the paper found.”

The Department of Justice Coming Down Hard on Pandemic Relief Abusers

The government is promising to find those who cheated the government during the pandemic. I have written other articles on the schemes that some heroes of the pandemic have utilized. For instance, some business owners used fraudulent 940/941 forms which they submitted to banks and received funds. Other small business owners changed their business’ documents and were able to get funding (Several Examples Here).

Last week, the Department of Justice charged the CEO of an alternative lender MBE Capital with both fraudulent loan and lender applications. According to the docket, “Martinez [the CEO] used false representations and documents to fraudulently obtain the approval of the SBA for his company, MBE Capital Partners, LLC (“MBE”), to be a non-bank lender through the PPP. Martinez then used that approval to obtain approximately $932 million in capital to issue PPP loans and earn over approximately $71 million in lender fees. In addition, Martinez engaged in a scheme to obtain a PPP loan for MBE in the amount of approximately $283,764 through false statements regarding the number of employees of MBE and the wages paid to MBE employees and using the forged signature of MBE’s tax preparer. Martinez was arrested yesterday and will be presented today in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker.”

BEWARE! The DOJ is Showing Their Cards – They Are Using Data Analytics and Collaborative Tools Across Agencies to Find Those Worthy of Investigation

In several of the dockets and press releases that are available, the Department of Justice has indicated that it is using data analytics using collaboration between government agencies to find those who might have committed fraud.

I think that this is likely easy considering all they need to do is match data across databases. For instance, it cannot be very hard for the DOJ to match application data or funding data from the SBA to the information in the IRS. In fact, one of the reasons why so many EIDL expansion loans have been declined after approved for the original funding is because many of the applications could verify what the business owners reported on their original application to their taxes.

Could you be next?

Most small business owners who received their PPP or EIDL funds submitted correct and accurate data. Some did not.

It is surely plausible that small business owners did not try to defraud the federal government of Pandemic Relief Funds but made a mistake.

However, those who know that they used fraudulent documents or hired someone to submit the documents should understand that if the DOJ finds discrepancies that are blaring, expect an audit at a minimum.

“They are only going after the big fish” – NOT!

While the President in his State of the Union speech said he would be going after the most egregious cases, the database of fraud by Arnold & Porter suggests that there have been convictions with small business owners receiving as little as $10,000 in funding.

What does this mean for most business owners?

Most small business owners have nothing to worry about. However, with the announcement of more oversight and investigation, as well as the commissioning of a COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force and appointment of a Chief Prosecutor for Pandemic Fraud small business owners can expect that the government will be looking at two possible probes in their review:

  1. Were Pandemic Relief Program funds received legally?
  2. How were Pandemic Relief funds used?

Three things that small business owners can do to ensure they are ready for an audit or investigation.

  • Small business owners should review their loan application and forgiveness application to make sure that the proper loan amounts were applied for, received, and forgiven.
  • Some small business owners used a service or someone to apply on their behalf for their funding. Those who did this should know who did the application, what documents they provided, as well as have contact information for an auditor to contact.
  • Maintain a list with back-up of all expenditures which were made using the Pandemic Relief Funds.

Dr. Thomas Tramaglini is the Managing Director for BRP Onesta, a company that supports small businesses. By offering a host of important and affordable services that small business owners tend to not have time to do themselves, the team at BRP Onesta can help small businesses grow infinitely. Although located in on the famous Jersey shore, BRP Onesta serves clients in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Canada.

7 Things Every Small Business Owner Should Be Ready for When Applying for A Grant

Small business grants opportunities are out there! In this post we address some critical things that might serve as a roadblock to a small business owner getting the grant they apply for.

By Thomas W. Tramaglini, Managing Director at BRP Onesta info@BRPOnesta.com www.backofficedepot.com http://www.thomastramaglini.com About Thomas Tramaglini

Grants: They are out there – but are you ready?

Small business owners ask us all the time for grants which they can apply for that will support their new or established business. That is why we always keep an updated list of grants on our website which every small business owner should visit regularly.

Yet, in many cases small business owners are not successful in attaining a grant.

Grants represent a great way to access capital for a business, however there are several things which small business owners should be aware of before applying. Below, we provide a list of some important things which will help any small business owner in their pursuit of a small business grant.

1. Do your research

The people who provide Grants to small businesses are usually from non-profits or the government. In most cases grants have a specific purpose. Many times, small business owners will just “Apply” for a grant without seeing what type of grant is out there. One simple thing to do is to use a grant database to find the right program to apply for.

We have a few grant databases here to conduct your search

Grantors want to give funds to those who help the organization reach its goals. Some of the best examples are grants that support minority small businesses or veterans. If you are neither then don’t apply because you surely will get rejected.

2. Think like a grant reviewer

A great way to think about your grant application when you write it is to think like a grant reviewer. That is, if you are going to be the person or team reviewing the grant you are writing what would they be looking for.

Most grants have a list of what they are looking for in the grantee. Take that list and make your own list of grant requirements and use that to guide your application. Even have someone else review your application with the list you provided as a guide. Most grants are graded on a scale or rubric, so this is a helpful technique when writing your application.

3. Keep accurate records of what you are applying for

One common mistake that many small business owners make is that they do not save information regarding what they applied for. Then, when the grant reviewer(s) asks questions, or for supporting documents, the small business owner shows either insincerity or disregard for the grant which leads to q quick decline.

So – Take notes. Keep a file. Do whatever is necessary so that you are ready when the grant reviewer asks questions or for supporting materials.

4. Grants are usually not like EIDL and PPP

Over the past few years, small business owners have had a taste of PPP and EIDL programs. For the most part, there were few guardrails which small business owners had with the pandemic funds being doled. Regardless, there were a bunch of knuckleheads who did not follow the minor rules (Actual Rules Here) and paid the price for it (Fake 940/941s. More Lamborghinis, Rolexes and Real Estate, Oh My).

Grants have technical components that one must usually follow, and nobody is entitled to grant funds. Grant applications should demonstrate that the business owner is worthy of the funds.

5. Make sure that you are writing like you can write

On many occasions I have seen grant applications declined because they are poorly written. I have sat on grant panels myself and seen some awful demonstrations of the English language. Nobody expects a trucker to write like F. Scott Fitzgerald but run on sentences, misspelling, failing to proofread, and just not being to the point is what I have seen kill an application. Even for the worthiest small business owner. So, if you have been writing using slang or short texting words, a word to the wise – do not use those in grant applications.

If you are unsure if you are writing a good piece, send it to me anytime and one of my team members or I will look at what you wrote (info@brponesta.com).

6. Make sure you have the following:

In many cases, grant organizations will ask for the following things. If you need any assistance with any of these things, which are pretty much what every small business should have regardless, contact our team of advisors now.

  • Articles of Organization or Incorporation
  • Corporate Financials (P&L, Balance Sheets)
  • Business Bank Statements
  • Tax Returns
  • Business Plan
  • Operating Agreements
  • Privacy Policy
  • 2 Year Corporate Financial Outlook
  • Website Address
  • Company Overview

7. Use a grant writer

Most small business owners are not grant writers. In fact, most small business owners do not have the time to write grants or are not experienced in writing grants. Therefore, companies like ours (contact our team of advisors as we write grants) exist to help small business owners.

We are well schooled in the grants that are out there, as well as how to effectively write those grants.

If you are a small business owner and you want us to write one or more grants for you, we have a bunch of different grants and grant writers who will help you at an affordable rate. If you are interested contact our team of advisors now.

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Dr. Thomas W. Tramaglini is the Managing Director for BRP Onesta, a company that supports small businesses. By offering a host of important and affordable services that small business owners tend to not have time to do themselves, the team at BRP Onesta can help small businesses grow infinitely. Although located in on the famous Jersey shore, BRP Onesta serves clients in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Canada.

What Grants Are Available For Small Businesses?

Are you a small business owner and looking for a Small Business Grant? We always keep a running list of current grants available on our website and we just updated it.

By Thomas Tramaglini, Managing Director at BRP Onesta
info@BRPOnesta.com
www.backofficedepot.com
About Thomas Tramaglini

Are you a small business owner and looking for a grant to support your business?

Our team at BRP Onesta continually looks for and list grants that are available for small businesses on our website.

1) Subscribe to our Blog to keep informed and receive updates regularly.

2) Contact our team if you need assistance with your grant application.

Check our list out now.

Dr. Thomas Tramaglini is the Managing Director for BRP Onesta, an organization that that supports small businesses. BRP Onesta offers a host of important and affordable solutions that small business owners tend to not have time to do themselves, the team at BRP Onesta can help small businesses grow infinitely. Although located in on the famous Jersey shore, BRP Onesta serves clients in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Canada.