© 2021 Wyoming Business Council
At a special meeting of the Board of Directors on Thursday, Nov. 12, the Wyoming Business Council announced the process it will follow to audit entities that received CARES Act funds through the COVID-19 Business Relief Program. This program includes five funds: the Interruption, Relief, Mitigation, Agriculture and Endurance funds.
“The safety and security of the distribution of these federal dollars is paramount to the State of Wyoming, and we have an established process to make sure we are being good stewards of these funds,” Business Council CEO Josh Dorrell said. “We encourage anyone who has concerns about where and how these funds have been dispersed or businesses or nonprofits that received money to please share that information through our anonymous tip form.”
The Business Council set up the tip form to collect information from anyone concerned about Wyoming businesses and nonprofits that received funds as reported on the State Auditor’s website at www.wyopen.gov. Concerns can be shared anonymously at wyomingbusiness.org/covid19.
While the Business Relief Program was intended to deliver funds rapidly to businesses suffering losses due to COVID-19, securing against fraud and ensuring accurate applications have been priorities of the Business Council since the launch in May. Before approval or payment, each application is reviewed by the Business Council, Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office and the Wyoming State Auditor’s Office to verify applicants meet eligibility criteria. Through this process, 6 percent of applications were rejected in the first three funds.
In continued oversight, the Business Council will contract with MHP, LLP of Cheyenne to conduct third-party financial audits on businesses that received funds through the COVID-19 Business Relief Program. More details about the audit process, including informational webinars, will be available next week.
Entities that received money from any of these funds should be prepared to produce documentation used to complete their applications, which may include, but is not limited to the following information:
Per program rules, the Business Council may conduct and contract for audits of entities receiving funding under this program to ensure awarded dollars are expended in compliance with state and federal law. Anyone knowingly making a false statement to obtain funding under these programs may require total or partial repayment of the funds and is punishable under the law, including under 18 USC 1343 by imprisonment of not more than 30 years and/or a fine of up to $1 million and Wyo. Stat. Ann. 6-3-402 by imprisonment of not more than 10 years and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Current rules may be found online at rules.wyo.gov.
ABOUT THE COVID-19 BUSINESS RELIEF PROGRAM
In May 2020, the Wyoming Legislature created three programs to distribute $325 million in federal CARES Act funding to Wyoming businesses and nonprofits that have experienced hardship related to the COVID-19 crisis. The Wyoming Business Council is distributing these dollars through the COVID-19 Business Relief Program, which now consists of five funds: the Interruption, Relief and Mitigation Funds, which are all closed; and the new Agriculture and Endurance Funds, which opened Nov. 2 and close Nov. 18. For more information, visit wyobizrelief.org.
Concerns about Fund Recipients: Please share concerns at wyomingbusiness.org/covid19.
Business and Nonprofit Assistance (For applicants or interested applicants only): Email: [email protected]
Media Inquiries: Contact Strategic Partnerships Director Ron Gullberg at 307-286-9519 or [email protected]