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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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Nevada PPP and EIDL Loan Fraud Lawyers

By Spodek Law Group | January 26, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 19, 2023)

Last Updated on: 19th October 2023, 12:19 pm


Nevada PPP and EIDL Loan Fraud Lawyers

The COVID-19 pandemic led to unprecedented government assistance for businesses and individuals, including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA)[1]. While these programs provided a lifeline for many during an incredibly challenging time, some took advantage and committed fraud. In Las Vegas and across Nevada, PPP and EIDL loan fraud is being aggressively prosecuted. If you or your business is being investigated or charged, it’s critical to consult with an experienced federal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

Overview of PPP and EIDL Programs

Here’s an overview of these loan programs, common fraudulent activities, penalties, and defenses:

Paycheck Protection Program

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was launched in April 2020 as part of the CARES Act. It authorized up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses to maintain payroll during COVID-19 closures and shutdowns. Congress later added another $320 billion to the program. PPP loans carried a 1% interest rate and 2-5 year terms. The key feature was forgiveness of up to the full loan amount if certain conditions were met, effectively converting loans to grants[1].

To have loans forgiven, PPP borrowers had to spend at least 60% on payroll costs and the remainder on other eligible expenses like rent and utilities during the 8-24 week covered period. Forgiveness amounts were reduced if full-time employee headcount declined or if salaries decreased by more than 25%[1]. Any unforgiven amounts converted to low interest (1%) loans repayable over 2-5 years.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program provides low interest loans to businesses suffering substantial economic injury from declared disasters. EIDLs have repayment terms up to 30 years and provide vital economic support to help overcome lost revenue. The CARES Act expanded the EIDL program to provide loans specifically for COVID-19 related losses. It authorized $10 billion in emergency EIDL grants of up to $10,000 within 3 days of applying to cover immediate operating expenses. The CARES Act also waived certain rules during the covered period from January 31, 2020 to December 31, 2021, including personal guarantees on loans below $200,000 and requirement to be in business for 1 year before the disaster[1].

Common Fraudulent Activities

With billions in government aid flowing rapidly to individuals and businesses, opportunities arose for abuse. Some common fraudulent activities involving PPP and EIDL loans include[1][2]:

  • Providing false employee, revenue or expense figures on applications to get larger loans. Many took advantage of limited upfront verification.
  • Applying for multiple loans through different lenders. The rush to distribute aid meant lenders weren’t checking for duplicate applications.
  • Using PPP funds for non-eligible expenses like buying luxury items or paying off debts. Some spent loans quickly before scrutiny increased.
  • Lying about number of employees being retained to maximize forgiveness. Some laid off staff right after getting the loan.
  • Falsifying records and documents to appear eligible. This includes fake tax returns, bank statements, and payroll records.
  • Applying for EIDL grants and loans exceeding allowed amounts using multiple business identities.
  • Spending EIDL funds for unauthorized purposes instead of working capital and normal operating expenses.
  • Colluding with lenders for higher loans through kickbacks. Some lenders prioritized larger loans despite program limits.
  • Stealing identities to fraudulently apply for loans or unemployment benefits in others’ names.

Penalties for PPP and EIDL Loan Fraud

PPP and EIDL loan fraud can lead to severe criminal and civil penalties. At the federal level, common charges include[1]:

  • Wire fraud
  • Bank fraud
  • Making false statements
  • Money laundering
  • Aggravated identity theft

Defendants often face multiple charges that can lead to lengthy prison sentences. The government pursues forfeiture of any fraudulent obtained loan amounts or purchases made. Ongoing audits and investigations means those who committed fraud may be prosecuted years later.

Civil penalties include treble damages up to three times lost amounts, civil fines, and being barred from federal contracts. The SBA has clawback authority to recoup funds through administrative proceedings. Those convicted also commonly face heavy fines and restitution orders[1].

Defenses in PPP and EIDL Fraud Cases

Given severe penalties, building an effective defense is critical. Here are some common defenses our experienced attorneys use[1]:

  • Lack of intent – No intentional deception or misrepresentations were made. Any issues were unintentional mistakes or misunderstandings.
  • No knowledge – Defendant was unaware of any fraudulent representations made by others in the loan application process.
  • Good faith – Defendant had a good faith belief that representations made were truthful and loan funds were used appropriately.
  • Compliance ambiguities – Given the rush, limited guidance led to reasonable confusion over compliance requirements that should not be criminalized.
  • Loan forgiveness – PPP loan was spent on eligible expenses and appropriate forgiveness documentation provided.
  • Audit errors – Any identified discrepancies arose from mistakes during government audits and reviews of records.
  • Lack of sophistication – Defendant lacked financial and legal sophistication to understand complex program requirements.
  • Weak evidence – Challenge strength of government’s case and credibility of witnesses.

An experienced federal criminal defense attorney can carefully analyze the facts of your case and build customized defenses focusing on the weaknesses of the prosecution’s arguments. This provides the best chance at an acquittal or avoiding harsh penalties.


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