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I-Team: Texas Small Business Owner Denied Access To Own Money After Approved For PPP Loan

IRVING, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - When Julia Vega of Irving applied for a small business Paycheck Protection Program loan, she was hoping the money could help revitalize her jewelry business.

But instead of helping her small at-home business recover from the pandemic, she said it made her financial situation worse.

Vega applied online and was approved for a $5,000 PPP loan from the Small Business Administration.

However, when the loan was deposited into her Capital One Bank account, the bank froze her account.

"I didn't know what to think. I was shocked. I was very angry," Vega said.

For nearly three weeks, not only could Vega not access her approved PPP loan money, but she could not access any of her money.

Vega said she had to borrow money from her sister to pay her rent and has endured several late fees for not pay her bills on time.

"I had over $2,500 in that account that was mine previous to the loan and they wouldn't even give me that," Vega said. "They froze all of it, even my credit card."

A Capital One spokesperson told the CBS 11 News I-Team, "Due to fraud prevalence within the Paycheck Protection Program and other stimulus efforts, Capital One is working closely with the SBA and the Treasury Department to review Paycheck Protection Program loans and ensure that the federal funds went to businesses eligible for the program. While we can't speak to this customer's individual situation, we are working to expedite our investigations to minimize impacts to customers."

Just hours after the I-Team contacted the bank's corporate office, Vega's account was unlocked.

A few days later, Vega said she received a call from a Capital One representative who apologized for the trouble and the delay.

While Capital One would not say why Vega's account raised a red flag for potential fraud, it appears it was likely because Vega deposited her PPP loan into a personal bank account, not a business account.

Having a business account is not a requirement for a PPP loan but other independent contracts have reported online having their bank accounts frozen as a result of using a personal bank account to deposit the federal loan.

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