By Elizabeth MacDonald

Published June 16, 2011

It’s got the goods, it knows that scamsters are allegedly stealing potentially tens of millions of taxpayer money via the Small Business Administration.

But the Dept. of Justice is sitting back on its heels, doing nothing, say two ranking members of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship and the Senate Judiciary Committee.
And now they are demanding a full assessment by the U.S. attorney general as to why nothing is being done to prosecute these cases.

Senators Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) have sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, which Fox Business has obtained, whereby the senators demand answers “as to why 17 cases of fraud and abuse determined by the Inspector General of the Small Business Administration have gone unprosecuted.”

The Dept. of Justice did not return calls for comment.

The senators note that while “smaller recoverable amounts” in SBA cases may be a factor versus cases involving fraud against the Dept. of Defense of Health and Human Services, they note that these SBA fraud cases involve serious crimes, tantamount to robbers doing a hit and run on taxpayers.

The 17 cases were passed on to the Justice Department between October 2010 and March 2011. “All of these cases involved serious crimes such as theft, embezzlement, conspiracy, counterfeiting, corruption, and bank fraud,” the senators wrote.

And in their letter, the senators note that the SBA Inspector General “referred a single case containing all of the following eight alleged crimes: false claims, false entries, false statements, forgery, passing bad checks, counterfeiting, mail fraud and wire fraud.

But the Justice Dept. declined to pursue it.

The senators noted that the SBA’s budget is $985 million out of a total of $3.8 trillion budget for the federal government. But the SBA is critical in helping jobs grow in this country via getting capital to small businesses, especially “as the economy continues to struggle and unemployment again rises above 9%.”

“Crimes against the SBA and the American taxpayer must be punished,” the senators added. “If would-be criminals know there is a threshold amount of money they can steal, or a number of offenses they can commit, without facing justice from the SBA or DOJ, this will create a serious moral hazard, and jeopardize the taxpayers’ investment in SBA programs.