20 pct of US COVID loan program fraudulent: AP

NEW YORK, June 16 (Xinhua) -- As much as 20 percent of the money in the federal aid program intended to help small businesses may have been awarded to fraudsters, The Associated Press (AP) reported Wednesday.

A Store For Rent sign is displayed at a retail property in Chicago, on June 20, 2020. (Photo: AP)

It is estimated that at least 80 billion U.S. dollar's distributed from the Economic Injury Disaster Loan could have been fraudulent, much of it in scams using stolen identities.

About 1.6 million applications for the loans may have been approved without being evaluated, according to the AP.

The AP cited U.S. senators saying that Washington failed to take basic steps at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent fraud in the aid program.