Allegations of PPP loan fraud, again. This time, the alarm involves Illinois State Police officers.

It takes everyone from the filthy rich to prisoners behind bars to move any case forward, as we've learned watching the list of people accused of scamming the federal Paycheck Protection Program grow.

The shock should have worn off by now.

Yet it's troubling every time a report comes out alleging that former and current city and state employees lied to get some quick cash for loans to those businesses. was determined who were trying to make ends meet during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Police with sticky fingers can make citizens feel particularly uncomfortable. Many Illinoisans may have been disappointed to read a story by Sun-Times reporter Frank Main that identified two more law enforcement officials as taking part in the larger national PPP $64 billion scam — which as usual is part of an even larger $200 billion fraud involving COVID-19 aid.

An officer, a master trooper with the Illinois State Police, admitted fraud when she listed “child care” as her principal occupation on her loan application. He ultimately received a loan of $17,707. The second officer, a state police special agent, or detective, said he was a servicer at her request and received a loan of $20,832. Both loans received by the officers were eventually forgiven.

There was a third state police officer, a former district commander, whom Maine interrogated. But state police officials told him the agency does not take administrative proceedings against retirees. how convenient.

State police officials said there is an “active criminal investigation” involving the two other officers, adding that complaints had been referred to the Illinois State Police Merit Board. But it's hard to breathe a sigh of relief when the wheels of justice turn so slowly that few people have been charged criminally, even if they were fired for breaking the PPP program run by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

If it turns out that this pair of state police officers cheated the system, how much will they pay? This is an especially important question because the Illinois State Police conducts independent investigations of police-involved shootings for suburban departments. As Maine reports, it may soon do the same for Chicago police.

This is not meant to tarnish the entire state police agency. But when even a few officials are accused of wrongdoing, it can tarnish the overall credibility.

The State Police Merit Board has to be transparent about what it finds. Other agencies, law enforcement and others, whose employees are being investigated or accused of PPP or other COVID relief fraud do the same.

If they don't, Maine will definitely do the work for them.

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