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PPP Loan Fraud Lawyers

In the wake of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the government Paycheck Protection Program has faced many fraud allegations. These fraud allegations were emanating from how the funds run out in a matter of minutes.

The pandemic forced many small businesses to showdown and employees losing jobs, prompting the government under the Cares Act to provide financial assistance to businesses. Applications from participating lenders flooded the program, and the money ran out, forcing the government to launch fraud investigations. Early in May, the government had issued the first PPP loan fraud charges against two people.

Government programs that offer almost risk-free funds always attract people trying to cash in fraudulently, leading to investigation, arrest, and federal charges against those who are innocent. If your business is facing or has the potential of facing an investigation into PPP loan fraud, it would be advisable to contact an attorney to help you fight for your rights.

Why You Need To Hire A Skilled Attorney

With the recent rising cases of investigation and arrest publicized by the media, it is prudent that you hire an attorney to save and protect your reputation. When facing such allegations, your entire future is at stake. Therefore contacting a defense attorney, you can secure your right, reputation, and freedom.

Types of PPP Loan Fraud

The laws governing PPP Loan fall under the following category:

1. Application fraud

When applying for PPP loans, the business needs to provide accurate and honest information. Companies eligible for PPP loans are only those that fall under the Small Business Act, 15 USC § 632, which must also apply based on uncertain current economic conditions. Failure to meet this requirement and instead provide false information may attract federal investigation. Such false information may include but not limited to:

  • Company number of employees (illegible companies were to have a maximum number of 500 employees and below)
  • Falsifying employees payroll to receive more money from the program
  • Companies with more than 500 employees that falsified information to qualify under the Small Business Act, 15 USC § 632.
  • Companies that categorized a number of its employees as independent contractors to qualify as eligible applicants.

2. Fraudulently Use of PPP Loan Funds

The rules governing the Funds from the program dictate the use of funds in the following ways.

  • To pay for interest and rent under the current obligation.
  • To pay for payroll expenses.
  • To pay for insurance premiums.
  • To pay for utility costs.

Any other usage of the funds may attract federal investigation.

3. Fraud In Certification For Loan Forgiveness

The program allows businesses to apply for forgiveness of debt under certain requirements of the program. Companies seeking forgiveness of debt must comply and prove that they have continually met the eligibility criteria. They must also prove that the documentation for the authorized use of funds is real. Any submission of fraudulent documents, including incomplete information, may attract federal investigations as a possible PPP certification fraud. The certifications for eligibility criteria include:

  • The needs emanating from current economic uncertainty.
  • Use of funds for intended purposes such as retaining employees on the payroll, rent, lease, and utility bills.
  • Use of funds for intended purposes such as retaining employees on the payroll, rent, lease, and utility bills.
  • The business will only receive one PPL loan and has not received it from multiple lenders.
  • All the company’s information provided is correct, and the supporting documents are accurate.

4. Lapping PPP Loans From multiple Lenders

Companies that applied and received PPP loans from multiple lenders are at risk of being the government target as it seeks to prosecute PPP loan fraud.

Since the federal government can track all the funds received under the program, the business that benefited from more than one lender should seek representation from a defense attorney.

Charges For PPP Loan Fraud

If the company has committed any of the above types of PPP loan fraud, they can face the following charges: serious consequences.

Bank Fraud

Fraudulent application of PPP loans can turn into an attempt to defraud a lending institution using false representation under 18 USC § 1344 and can attract a jail term of 30 years or a fine of up one million dollars.

Aggravated Identity Theft

Under 18 USC § 1028A, an individual accused of using someone else’s information to apply for PPP loans will face aggravated identity theft charges.

False Claims Act

Submitting false documentation in a PPP loan forgiveness application will attract false claim violations under the 31 USC §§ 3729 – 373.

Wire Fraud

Under 18 USC § 1343, a person submitting a false PPP loan application online will attract charges of fraudulent activities online.

Misrepresenting or Concealing Information To Federal Agents

In case of a federal investigation into the involvement of individuals or companies in PPP loan fraud, you should be extra careful with what you say and what information to give. Concealing or making false statements could lead to federal charges that can attract up to $250,000 and $500,000 for individuals and companies, respectively. Therefore, it is in your best interest to involve a lawyer who will guide you through the investigations process.

What You should Do

When and if your company, if targeted by federal agencies, the most important thing is to contact an experienced attorney. Since the federal agents must prove that you acted in bad faith, your attorney’s defense proves your innocence and eliminates as many charges as possible.


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