The PPP program was designed to allow small businesses keep workers on their payroll. This program provided federally guaranteed loans for eligible businesses. More than 10 million loans were issued, totaling more than $750 billion under PPP. The project was part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This loan helped provide small businesses cover their needs: payroll, rent, utilities, and other expenses because Covid affected their earnings.
Some people took money they didn’t rightfully deserve. Businesses who apply for a PPP loan are required to meet requirements, and there are limits on how they can spend funds. If a business violates these requirements when getting a PPP loan – they could be held liable to charges.
Some of the ways businesses committed PPP fraud include:
Many business owners are getting in trouble because they lied about how many employees they have. If you lie on your PPP loan application, you could be accused of bank fraud under U.S. Code Title 18 U.S.C. 1344. Bank fraud is considered a type of white collar crime, and the penalty can vary.
If a business lied about the number of employees they had on their PPP loan application, they can also be accused of wire fraud. If you were found to use a communications device, like a telephone or email, to defraud an institution in order to gain funds from a PPP loan – you can be considered guilty of wire fraud. Penalties for wire fraud can include prison up to 20 years.
PPP loan fraud, as a result of lying about your number of employees, can be prosecuted as conspiracy to commit fraud. This illegal act involves two or more people conspiring to commit an offense against the U.S., and the charge can include up to 5 years in prison and other punitive damages.
If you lied about the number of employees on your PPP application – you can also be prosecuted for making false statements to a financial institution. It is illegal to make a false statement to a financial institution, so if you lied about the number of employees on your PPP loan, you could be charged with this federal crime. This act is criminal, under section 1014, and if you’re convicted – you could face a fine, and prison time.
If you’re under any type of investigation, it’s important to be careful. As you are aware, you should consider hiring a PPP loan fraud lawyer as soon as possible. If you make any statements, any words, to the wrong agent of the government – they can be used against you. You might think you are telling the truth – or defending yourself, but you may accidentally incriminate yourself. This problem will not go away on it’s own. You should consider speaking to a trusted criminal defense attorney at the Spodek Law Group. If you think you might be facing PPP fraud charges, we can help you.
If you are being investigated for lying about employees on your PPP loan application there are potential defenses we can work on your behalf:
Lack of intent: In order to charge you with PPP fraud, the government has to prove you intentionally misrepresented a fact on the PPP loan application. It’s natural there was some confusion when filling out these forms.
Loans usage: If you signed a PPP loan application, you have to certify the funds would be used for business-related purposes under loan requirements. We will help you build this defense.
Identity: Another thing the government has to prove is that you are the person who committed the crime and pursued the crime. PPP applications require the business owner to file specific applications and the government has to prove you were the person who submitted the application. If its possible, we will work to ensure there is no evidence for this.
If you’re worried about lying about employees on your PPP loan application, call the Spodek Law Group today.
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