PALM CITY, Fla. — Two victims of identity theft involving small businesses disaster relief loans now have liens against their property, Contact 5 has learned.
Contact 5 first exposed the problem in September 2020, when Dr. Richard Loew, of Palm City, Patty Sarkar, of Okeechobee, and three others from different states had U.S. Small Business Administration disaster relief loans taken out in their names.
The scheme followed the same template, with identity thieves adding the word "farms" behind each victim's name, like Donna Farms and Patricia Farms.
Now, Loew said, the U.S. Small Business Administration has filed a lien against his wife, Donna Loew. Sarkar also tells Contact 5 the SBA has filed a lien against her as well.
Contact 5 has learned the SBA is working with law enforcement to recover the money from these fraudulent loans and is also working to remove UCC filings that result in these liens.
Loew said he found out about the lien just one night before Contact 5 interviewed him, trying to find out the latest in his fight to get his name cleared.
"We have no recourse because the USBA refuses to talk to me," Loew told Contact 5.
Loew said that, despite not getting any recourse from the SBA, he still receives notices every month, reminding him that he's on the hook for the loan.
"I have stacks of files on the people we've contacted, the dates we've contacted them," Loew said, showing Contact 5 his notes.
The $239 monthly payments are due beginning in July, but Loew said if the issue isn't settled, he's not paying.
"I want them to take me to court," Loew told Contact 5. "Because if they take me to court, at least I can face them."
The U.S. Small Business Association sent the following response after Contact 5 asked for a comment on the story:
"For other individuals reporting to SBA identity theft associated with the EIDL program, we ask them to download and return the attached letter: COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Identity Theft Letter."