No small potatoes when it comes to SBA loan fraud in South Dakota

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota isn’t known for its potato farms so when a potato farm with an address in Sioux Falls is included on the list of Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), it stands out.

KELOLAND News noticed it when it searched four data sheets with more than 7,000 listings for EIDL loan recipients in South Dakota. Farms or listings with farm in the name of the loan recipient were the primary focus.

At least $128,000 in fraud was linked to three fake potato farms. Another $85,000 was linked to two fake tomato farms. At least another $42,600 was linked to an apparent fraudulent potato farm.

Potato and tomato farms weren’t the only source of fraudulent farm loans.

Fake farming operations from Pierre to Sioux Falls garnered more than $800,000 in fraudulent loans.

The map includes the SBA list and number of the sites. To search the sites, click here.

While reviewing the EIDL lists for possible farm fraud, KELOLAND News also discovered several other fraudulent loans in the names of individuals or other businesses.

In all, about $1.2 million in fraudulent loans was discovered in the primary search for possible farm fraud. At least 29 cases involving fraud were discovered.

Those attempting to fraudulently obtain loans used the names and/or addresses of residents or former residents of South Dakota. The addresses included a business or residential sites, for example.

A KELOLAND Investigates story by Angela Kennecke talks with some of the people whose names and\or addresses were used to file false loan applications. The victims range from small business owners to college professors and a retired couple.

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