PPP Loan Fraud Criminal Defense Attorney
The SBA Office of Inspector General, the US Department of Justice, and other federal agencies are actively pursuing investigations to uncover PPP loan fraud. Many of these investigations result in criminal charges.
“What is a PPP loan?”
The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a forgivable loan program created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. PPP loans help eligible borrowers affected by the Covid-19 pandemic keep their employees on the payroll. Small businesses and self-employed taxpayers may apply for forgivable loans to cover payroll and other eligible expenses such as rent and utilities. To avoid the risk of federal criminal charges, you need to ensure your application contains truthful statements.
Do not make false statements on the PPP Application Form to Avoid Federal Criminal Charges
The application requires an applicant to provide information. For example, you must name all owners who own 20% or more equity in the company, payroll costs, and the number of employees to obtain a loan.
False statements or fraudulent conduct in submitting a PPP loan can subject you to significant federal criminal liability. The PPP application requires you to certify the application and expressly indicates you can be penalized for “knowingly making a false statement to obtain a guaranteed loan from SBA” and knowingly using the funds for illegitimate purposes.
To avoid federal criminal charges when applying for a PPP loan, you should avoid the following acts:
- Misrepresenting a company’s payroll;
- Misrepresenting the number of employees;
- Misrepresenting a company’s payroll costs to obtain additional PPP loan funds;
- Obtaining multiple PPP loans from multiple SBA lenders;
- Using PPP loan funds for ineligible business purposes; or
- Falsely certifying a company has complied with the terms of the PPP.
Numerous federal laws are broad enough to encompass fraudulent practices in obtaining a PPP loan that make it difficult to avoid federal criminal charges, including but not limited to the following:
- Making False Statements to Federal Agents (18 USC §1001);
- Making False Statements to the Small Business Administration (15 USC §645);
- Making False Statements to a Financial Institution (18 USC §1014);
- Wire Fraud (18 USC §1343); or
- Conspiracy (18 USC §1349).
False Allegations of PPP Loan Fraud
Law enforcement can misinterpret inadvertent or careless clerical mistakes in PPP loan applications as intentional misrepresentations. State and federal investigators are seemingly on a mission to find and prosecute people for PPP fraud cases. Unfortunately, overzealous police officers and special agents often seek to build cases, not find the truth. When a person is falsely accused of fraud, including PPP loan application fraud, it is essential they have a reputable, veteran defense lawyer protecting and defending them. In many cases, a savvy defense lawyer can help a client avoid charges, so they do not have to go to court.
Experienced and Effective PPP Loan Fraud Criminal Defense Attorneys
The lawyers with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have decades of experience and a track record of consistently and reliably defending PPP loan fraud cases. If you have questions about avoiding federal criminal charges when applying for a PPP loan or believe you may be at risk for a PPP fraud federal indictment, do not wait to seek legal guidance. If you call us for a free consultation, we will take the time to speak with you, ensure your case is handled correctly from the start, and work with you to achieve the most favorable outcome in your case. We will find a way to help you.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form, and we will contact you promptly.