SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — Forty-seven employees of the State of Illinois have been fired over claims they defrauded the state by filing fake pandemic loans.

According to the Illinois Office of the Executive Inspector General, the employees applied for Paycheck Protection Program loans for small businesses outside of their state work, although many of the businesses allegedly did not exist or did not earn the income that was claimed.

The Center Square reported that 37 of the accused worked at the Ludeman Developmental Center in Park Forest, including 32 mental health technicians, three supervisors, one program coordinator, and a nurse.

“When you find out there are 37 people that have done this, they obviously have been talking to one another at work,” Gov. JB Pritzker said Monday. “Maybe someone committed this kind of fraud then tried to convince somebody else that they can show them how to do this.”

The inspector general for the United States’ Small Business Administration said fraud has been a problem nationwide, estimating that the agency paid out more than $200 billion in false claims.