MWW Group has settled a federal suit alleging that it violated the False Claims Act by taking a second loan of $2M from the Paycheck Protection Program to which it was not entitled because it was registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

The PR firm said its former CFO was unaware that a 2021 change in the law made it ineligible for the second loan.

It also notes that due to the ambiguity of the FARA statute, it is in question whether MWW was actually required to file the FARA report during these periods and if it was, in fact, ineligible for the loan.

MWW said it voluntarily agreed to reimburse the Small Business Administration the equivalent of the loan to avoid any appearance of impropriety whatsoever. The firm’s insurance carrier will pay a chunk of that outlay.

Under the settlement MWW will pay the US $2.29M, plus interest. A whistleblower, unaffiliated with MWW or the government, will receive $229K as part of the US recovery.

The Justice Dept. noted that MWW fully cooperated with its investigation and the resolution of the matter.

Congress created the PPP in March 2020 as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.