Legislators from Camden and Gloucester counties requested that the Department of Banking and Insurance investigate loans issued through the Small Business Administration’s Supplemental Terrorist Activity Relief program.
The request followed an audit which found that 85% of the loans were given to businesses that were not eligible for the loans or whose eligibility could not be determined.
In New Jersey, 123 businesses received low-interest guaranteed loans totaling more than $83 million. The amount of the loans ranged from $200,000 to more than $1.7 million each and went to such diverse businesses as restaurants, bars, gas stations, doughnut shops, motels and hotels.
The loan program, established by Congress in January 2002, was to aid small businesses affected by the economic downturn caused by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The one-year program was operated through the Federal Small Business Administration and the loans were made by participating banks.