Louisiana PPP and EIDL Loan Fraud Lawyers
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program were created by the federal government to provide emergency financial assistance to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. While these programs provided a lifeline to many legitimate small businesses, unfortunately there has also been widespread fraud and abuse of the programs.
In Louisiana, federal prosecutors are now cracking down and charging dozens of defendants with PPP and EIDL loan fraud. Common fraudulent activities include falsifying payroll expenses and number of employees to obtain larger PPP loans, using PPP funds for unauthorized personal purchases, and submitting multiple fraudulent loan applications often using fake businesses.
If you are being investigated or charged with PPP or EIDL loan fraud in Louisiana, it is critical to retain experienced criminal defense counsel immediately. An aggressive legal defense is needed to attempt to avoid criminal conviction, fines, imprisonment, and other severe consequences.
Federal Laws Used to Prosecute Louisiana PPP/EIDL Loan Fraud
Federal prosecutors are charging PPP and EIDL loan fraud using a variety of federal statutes including:
- Wire Fraud – Using interstate wires to further a scheme to defraud the PPP or EIDL program. This includes submitting online or electronic loan applications with false information. Wire fraud carries a penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment.
- Bank Fraud – Knowingly executing or attempting to execute a scheme to defraud a bank or financial institution, such as submitting false information to a bank that approves a fraudulent PPP loan application. Bank fraud can result in 30 years imprisonment.
- Money Laundering – Engaging in financial transactions, such as transfers or withdrawals, involving the proceeds of unlawful PPP or EIDL loan fraud. Money laundering carries a penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment.
- Aggravated Identity Theft – Using someone else’s means of identification like name, social security number, or date of birth without authority during PPP or EIDL loan fraud. This adds a mandatory minimum 2 years imprisonment consecutive to any other sentence.
- False Statements – Knowingly making false statements in relation to PPP or EIDL loan applications and documents. False statement convictions can mean up to 5 years imprisonment.
In addition to the criminal penalties, those convicted also face serious fines, restitution, asset forfeiture, and other financial consequences. The government will seek to seize and forfeit any homes, vehicles, or other assets purchased with the proceeds of the fraudulent loans.
Recent Louisiana PPP & EIDL Fraud Cases
Federal prosecutors in the Eastern and Middle Districts of Louisiana have been very active in charging PPP and EIDL loan fraud cases, including:
- United States v. Tolliver – Michael Tolliver of Monroe pleaded guilty to submitting nine fraudulent PPP and EIDL loan applications seeking over $1.1 million and using the proceeds to purchase luxury vehicles and other items. He was sentenced to over 5 years in federal prison.
- United States v. Jackson – Trina Jackson of Baton Rouge pleaded guilty to filing numerous fraudulent PPP and EIDL loan applications totaling over $1 million and laundering the proceeds. She faces up to 40 years imprisonment at sentencing.
- United States v. Mills – John Mills of Baton Rouge received a 2 year federal prison sentence after pleading guilty to submitting false PPP loan applications and payroll tax documents for a sham business called “Mills Consulting LLC.”
- United States v. Alexander – Horace Alexander of New Orleans was charged with bank fraud and aggravated identity theft for allegedly using fake and stolen identities to apply for at least 10 fraudulent EIDL loans totaling over $1 million.
These are just a few examples of the rampant PPP and EIDL loan fraud being prosecuted in federal courts across Louisiana. The Department of Justice and other agencies are aggressively investigating and prosecuting these cases.
Defenses to PPP & EIDL Loan Fraud Charges
While PPP and EIDL loan fraud allegations should always be taken very seriously, there are potential defenses that an experienced federal criminal defense attorney may be able to assert on your behalf, such as:
- No intent to defraud – The government must prove you specifically intended to defraud the PPP or EIDL program, not just that you made mistakes or errors on an application.
- Loan funds properly used – If the loan funds were legitimately used for payroll, rent, utilities, or other approved expenses, then no fraud may have occurred.
- No false statements – If the alleged false statements made in the applications are immaterial or can be explained or corrected, then a fraud charge may not stick.
- Identity theft/unauthorized use – If someone else fraudulently applied for loans in your name, then you may be a victim of identity theft and not criminally responsible.
- Duress or coercion – If you were coerced or pressured by an abusive spouse, family member, or employer to participate in loan fraud, then you may have an affirmative defense.
An experienced federal loan fraud defense lawyer will thoroughly investigate the facts of your case and determine if any viable defenses may apply. This provides the best chance of avoiding criminal conviction and punishment.
Louisiana Federal PPP & EIDL Fraud Lawyers
If you are contacted by federal agents regarding alleged PPP or EIDL loan fraud, immediately retain seasoned legal counsel. Do not speak to investigators without an attorney present, as anything you say can be used against you.
For help defending against Louisiana PPP or EIDL loan fraud charges, contact the experienced federal criminal defense attorneys at Spodek Law Group. We have successfully represented clients facing allegations of PPP, EIDL, and other COVID-19 relief fraud across the country.
Schedule a free, confidential case review by calling 888-997-4752 or by filling out our simple online contact form. Let our elite team of former federal prosecutors protect your rights and future. With offices nationwide, we can handle cases in any federal judicial district.
Frequently Asked Questions About Louisiana PPP & EIDL Fraud Charges
- Can I go to jail for PPP or EIDL loan fraud?Yes, PPP and EIDL loan fraud are federal felonies that can result in substantial prison sentences along with large fines and restitution. For example, wire fraud and bank fraud charges can lead to up to 30 years imprisonment.
- What if I made an honest mistake on my PPP or EIDL application?Honest mistakes are not necessarily fraud. But you may need an attorney to help explain errors to investigators and negotiate repayment to avoid criminal prosecution.
- Should I speak to federal agents if they contact me about my PPP or EIDL loan?No. Immediately retain legal counsel. Do not answer questions or make any statements before speaking with an attorney, as anything you say can be used against you. Politely decline to answer questions.
- Can I be charged with PPP or EIDL fraud even if I used the funds properly?Yes, just submitting fraudulent loan applications is illegal, even if the funds were legitimately used and repaid. But proper use of funds may help raise defenses.
- What if my spouse or someone else applied for the fraudulent loans without my knowledge?You may be an innocent spouse or victim of identity theft. But don’t make statements to investigators. Retain counsel to preserve defenses.
PPP and EIDL loan fraud prosecutions are rampant in Louisiana federal courts. Anyone being investigated or charged should immediately hire experienced criminal defense counsel to protect their rights. An aggressive legal defense is needed to attempt to avoid the severe consequences of conviction. For help defending against Louisiana PPP or EIDL fraud allegations, contact the elite federal defense lawyers at Spodek Law Group online or call 888-997-4752 for a free case review.