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Iowa PPP Loan Fraud Lawyers

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was a federal aid package for small and medium businesses worth over $650 billion. As part of the CARES Act, PPP loans offered a lifeline to companies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These potentially forgivable loans covered up to eight weeks of payroll, with the intention of stemming the tide of unemployment and helping small businesses weather the subsequent lockdowns.

However, as the media has brought increased attention to the PPP loan fund, the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Treasury have released new guidance to help business owners reassess their eligibility. During the initial application, businesses were required to certify that “current economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant.” This vague statement caused confusion and led the SBA to release further guidance stating that borrowers must not be able to “access other sources of liquidity sufficient to support their ongoing operations in a manner that is not significantly detrimental to the business.”

Unfortunately, this statement is in direct conflict with the CARES Act’s express waiver of the SBA’s requirement that borrowers must specifically demonstrate they are unable to obtain credit elsewhere, leaving small business owners feeling stressed and confused about their legal liability.

In addition, the Department of Justice has stated that PPP loan proceeds must only be used for specific expenses, such as payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. For the PPP loan and interest to be forgiven, businesses must use the funds within eight weeks of receipt and at least 75% of the total must be used for payroll. If these criteria are not met, the loan may not be forgiven and the business could face criminal penalties and substantial fines.

In light of these confusing and ever-changing regulations, it is essential that small business owners seek legal counsel to ensure they are in compliance with PPP guidelines and to explore potential legal options for compensation.

PPP loan fraud occurs when companies or individuals game the Paycheck Protection Program by submitting multiple loan applications, misinterpreting material facts, using federal funds improperly, or obstructing audits and federal investigations. Some examples of fraudulent activity include buying luxury cars, real estate, and jewelry with PPP funds, and identity theft. To report abuse or fraud of the PPP program, you can submit a complaint to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) or file a “qui tam” claim under the False Claims Act (FCA) with the help of an attorney. Whistleblowers may be eligible for a percentage of funds recovered by the government and fraudulent business owners may be required to pay penalties and damages. However, proving fraud under the FCA requires evidence that the fraudulent party knowingly submitted a fraudulent application and received funds they were ineligible for or used in fraudulent ways. It is important to speak with an attorney to validate your claim and help you collect evidence if you suspect or have evidence of fraud.

Iowa PPP Loan Fraud Lawyers

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the nation, the government has implemented various measures to provide aid to individuals and businesses affected by the crisis. One such measure is the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which is meant to provide financial assistance to businesses facing financial difficulties due to the pandemic. However, with such a large amount of money allocated to the program, it’s no surprise that the government and private banks have been working together to identify and prevent any irregularities or fraud in the application for PPP funds.

If your business or you as an individual are under audit or investigation for illegally receiving PPP funds, it’s crucial to retain a skilled federal criminal defense attorney to mitigate the risk of facing a federal criminal prosecution. Federal and state law enforcement agencies are actively conducting investigations of individuals or businesses that have applied for PPP loans, and they’re not just looking for PPP loan application fraud. They’re also on the lookout for loan stacking (where a company applies for PPP loans simultaneously with various banks), using PPP funds for unauthorized use, and fraudulent loan forgiveness certification.

Making false statements to federal law enforcement agents can be charged as a separate crime altogether, so it’s important to be diligent in avoiding the disclosure of information that may be incriminating, and not to make any misrepresentations in the course of an audit or investigation. If you have been charged or are under investigation for PPP loan fraud, it’s essential to seek the assistance and support of a federal criminal defense law firm with extensive nationwide experience with the Federal Court system.

Early intervention by counsel is key to a proper defense. Our federal criminal defense lawyers have successfully represented numerous clients in PPP loan fraud cases and have a deep understanding of the laws and regulations related to the PPP program. So, if you’re facing PPP loan fraud charges or are under investigation, don’t hesitate to contact us for a FREE CONSULTATION to assess your case and provide you with the best legal advice on how to proceed. Don’t let this unfortunate experience consume you, allow us to support you.

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