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Virginia PPP and EIDL Loan Fraud Lawyers

Why You Need an Experienced Virginia PPP and EIDL Loan Fraud Lawyer

The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented government assistance to small businesses and workers across the country. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program dispensed billions of dollars in loans and grants to help companies stay afloat during mandated shutdowns and revenue loss. However, with so much money flowing so quickly, fraud was rampant. Now, the government is cracking down hard on PPP and EIDL fraud with criminal charges carrying steep penalties. If you’re being investigated or charged in Virginia, you need an experienced white collar defense lawyer who understands these complex cases. Here’s why:

The Government is Aggressively Prosecuting PPP/EIDL Fraud

Federal prosecutors are making PPP and EIDL fraud a top priority. The Department of Justice (DOJ) is coordinating with the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) to detect, investigate and prosecute cases of COVID relief fraud across the country.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said, “The Justice Department will continue to zealously pursue accountability for wrongdoing in connection with the distribution of relief funds.”

Dozens of criminal cases have already been filed, and many more are in the pipeline. Charges range from making false statements on loan applications to elaborate money laundering schemes misappropriating millions of dollars in funds.

George FernandezGeorge Fernandez
14:16 30 Apr 24
Excellent 10 out of 10, Helped resolve my case. Jeremy explained everything and made everything easy to understand.
21:33 24 Apr 24
If you are looking for a lawyer that listens, is aggressive where needed, and holds his word above all else, Todd is the best pick. I had hired multiple attorneys prior to hiring the Spodek Group for a white collar case. The first thing that stood out to me was the cost, as anyone going through the process and dealing with the system, money was tight at that time - especially after hiring and firing multiple lawyers. The cost was not as high as others which was definitely a plus. Todd's intake process was also unlike other attorneys. He took the time to actually listen. He cared. He was trying to put himself in my shoes while I was explaining the situation to him and he really took the time to understand the whole situation. Other lawyers will give you 15 mins and send you a retainer agreement. Not Todd, I think he spent almost two hours with me as I was explaining everything.Not only was he great during the onboarding process, he was supportive and very informative through the entire plea process and eventually sentencing. After hiring him, I asked if I should hire a prison consultant, he told me to save my money as he would do everything they would. He was right and held up to his word. Later on I would hear from others that went with the prison consultants that they were a waste of money - I am glad I listened to Todd!When it came time for sentencing, two days prior to sentencing, the prosecutor tried increasing my proposed prison time by almost double - apparently a normal move. Todd and his team worked with me non-stop through the weekend prior to sentencing to ensure that I was not given additional prison time. Again, he took the time to listen and came up with a strategy to explain the case with great detail.Unfortunately, I did plead guilty as that was my best option. Todd and his whole team wrote up nearly 300 pages of a summary of what happened and why I should not be given prison time. If I breakdown the amount I spent with Todd versus the amount of work that I saw being done, I am shocked I was not charged four times as much. The other benefit was, a lot of criminal defense lawyers were just a single attorney with a paralegal or two. Todd had a team of people that I dealt with (5-7 people that I interacted with), but he was ALWAYS accessible. It would never take him more than an hour to reply unless he was in court.I was sentenced to prison and I was emotionally distraught. Todd and his team did whatever they could even after sentencing to make sure I was alright. He personally stayed in touch with my family to ensure I was doing alright and offered support to them. Most lawyers would consider the job complete at sentencing, not Todd.After prison, Todd still spent time with me to make sure I was on the right track and avoiding any potential risks in the future. He has also been giving advice on how to navigate probation etc and has not been looking at the clock for billing.Although I wish I had never been arrested in the first place, I am glad I had Todd and his team in my corner. Without them I likely would have had to spend a lot more time in prison than I did.Thank you, Todd, and the entire Spodek Law team, for helping turn what was a nightmare into a manageable situation!
Yelva Saint-PreuxYelva Saint-Preux
19:26 19 Apr 24
I am immensely grateful to the entire team at Spodek Law Group for their unwavering dedication and exceptional expertise throughout my case. From our initial consultation to the final resolution, their professionalism and tireless advocacy made all the difference. Their strategic approach and attention to detail instilled confidence in me every step of the way.Thanks to their hard work and commitment, we achieved a truly favorable outcome that exceeded my expectations. Not only did they navigate the complexities of my case with precision, but they also provided invaluable support and guidance during what was undoubtedly a challenging time. I cannot recommend Spodek Law Group highly enough, especially attorneys Todd Spodek and Claire Banks; they are beacons of excellence in the legal profession.YSP.
Katherine SunKatherine Sun
18:08 18 Apr 24
my lawyer is Alex Zhik. Efficient, patient and professional
Nun yaNun ya
17:48 18 Apr 24
Todd, Ralph and Alex are amazing. Helped my husband get from a double digit number with multiple charges to a single digit, by the time I blink he will be out. They very professional and help with all your needs. They dealt with my anxiety and worry very well and they understand that your family member needs to get home as soon as possible.
Keisha ParrisKeisha Parris
20:45 15 Mar 24
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko BeautyTaïko Beauty
16:26 15 Mar 24
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence.Thank you team!
K MarK Mar
01:37 25 Jan 24
I recently had Spodek Law Group represent me for a legal matter in NYC and I am thoroughly impressed with their services.Alex Zhik secured the best possible outcome for my case.It was a seamless journey from the initial consultation to the resolution of my legal matter. From the moment I spoke to Todd about my case, his enthusiasm to help was evident, setting a positive tone for the entire experience. The efficiency and professionalism displayed by the team is commendable.A particularly noteworthy aspect of their service is their user-friendly portal to upload your documents/evidence. This not only simplified the process, but showcases their commitment to streamline the client experience.Lastly, in an industry where legal fees can often be a concern, I found their pricing to be very reasonable, making needing legal assistance feel accessible and stress-free.I am grateful for their support and wouldn't hesitate to turn to them again in the future.

Prosecutors are throwing the book at defendants, charging multiple felony counts that can lead to decades behind bars. For example, in a recent Virginia case, a McLean business owner was indicted on ten counts, including bank fraud, making false statements and engaging in unlawful monetary transactions. He faces up to 30 years in prison just for the bank fraud charge.

The government is sending a clear message that PPP and EIDL fraud will be punished severely. You need an attorney with the skills and experience to vigorously defend your rights.

PPP and EIDL Cases are Legally Complex

Prosecuting pandemic fraud involves weaving together multiple complex federal statutes and regulations. Cases typically rely on charges like:

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

Each charge has its own complicated set of required elements prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. For instance, bank fraud requires showing you knowingly executed or attempted to execute a scheme to defraud a financial institution.

An experienced federal defense lawyer knows how to break these laws down and look for weaknesses in the government’s arguments. They can challenge flaws in prosecution’s legal theories and pick apart each charge element by element.

In addition, the PPP and EIDL programs have extensive rules about eligibility, allowable uses of funds and forgiveness. Just determining whether there was fraud requires navigating volumes of federal regulations and SBA guidance.

An attorney well-versed in the programs’ fine print can often find exemptions, exceptions or extenuating circumstances the government failed to consider. This can undermine the prosecution’s entire theory of guilt.

With so much at stake, you need a lawyer who understands the complex interaction of pandemic relief laws, banking regulations and criminal statutes.

Federal Sentences Can Be Extremely Severe

A conviction on just one PPP or EIDL fraud charge can potentially land you behind bars for decades. That’s because prosecutors frequently stack multiple serious felony charges carrying severe penalties.

For example, federal bank fraud convictions can result in up to 30 years imprisonment under 18 U.S.C. § 1344. Wire fraud under 18 U.S.C. § 1343 and making false statements on loan applications under 18 U.S.C. § 1001 are punishable by up to 20 years and 5 years respectively.

If convicted of aggravated identity theft under 18 U.S.C. § 1028A for using someone else’s identity to commit fraud, you’ll face a mandatory consecutive 2-year prison term per count.

In addition, the amount of loss involved can drastically impact sentencing. Under federal guidelines, higher loss amounts quickly ratchet up the recommended prison time. Even if you plead guilty, you could still face years behind bars.

An experienced federal criminal defense lawyer knows how to meticulously challenge loss calculations and other sentencing enhancements to minimize prison exposure. They also know how to craft sentencing arguments emphasizing mitigating factors to persuade the judge to go below guidelines.

When your future is on the line, you need a lawyer who knows all the strategies to reduce sentencing and avoid a lengthy incarceration.

Collateral Consequences Can Be Severe

A conviction on federal fraud charges often means severe collateral damage beyond just incarceration. Prosecutors frequently pursue forfeiture of assets they claim are connected to illegal activity. You could lose your home, bank accounts, vehicles and business.

Being convicted of a felony also means losing fundamental civil rights like voting, serving on a jury and possessing firearms. Many professional licenses are revoked, destroying careers. Any future hopes for public office or leadership roles evaporate. Even getting a job becomes infinitely more difficult with a record.

Immigrants face the additional consequence of deportation if convicted of an “aggravated felony.” While this term is defined broadly, fraud offenses with a loss exceeding just $10,000 qualify. So a PPP or EIDL fraud conviction could get a lawful permanent resident deported and banned from the U.S. for life.

A skilled lawyer knows how to negotiate with prosecutors to minimize forfeitures and collateral consequences. This can be the difference between starting over post-conviction and losing everything.

Investigations Begin with SBA Audits

PPP and EIDL fraud investigations nearly always begin with an audit by the SBA Office of Inspector General (OIG). The SBA OIG looks for red flags like:

  • Businesses that received multiple loans
  • Questionable NAICS business codes for type of business
  • High loan amounts inconsistent with payroll/employees
  • Suspicious bank account activity after funds received

If the SBA OIG detects potential fraud, they make a criminal referral to federal law enforcement agencies like the FBI, IRS, Secret Service or Postal Inspectors. These agencies dig deeper, gather additional evidence and ultimately refer cases to federal prosecutors.

However, SBA OIG audits are not foolproof. There are often mistakes and inaccuracies. Experienced attorneys know how to effectively challenge audit conclusions through SBA appeals. This can resolve cases before they ever get to prosecutors.

Even if a criminal investigation has begun, prosecutors rely heavily on SBA determinations of rule violations and loss amounts. Aggressively fighting the audit provides ammunition to undermine the government’s case.

When an audit puts your business and freedom at risk, you need a lawyer who knows how to successfully navigate the SBA appeals process from start to finish.

How to Find the Right Virginia PPP/EIDL Fraud Lawyer

Facing PPP or EIDL fraud charges in Virginia can be daunting. But the right lawyer can mean the difference between prison and preserving your freedom. Here are tips on finding the best attorney for your case:

Look for Extensive Federal Criminal Defense Experience

Fraud cases are among the most complex federal crimes prosecuted. You want a lawyer well-versed in the nuances of federal criminal defense, not someone dabbling in it occasionally. Look for attorneys who specialize in federal cases and have routinely handled fraud charges like wire fraud, bank fraud and false statements.

Ideally, you want someone who previously worked as a federal prosecutor. This gives them inside knowledge of the prosecution’s approach. Prior white collar defense experience shows they know how to handle the sophisticated legal and financial issues these cases present.

Find Someone Knowledgeable on PPP and EIDL Rules

The COVID relief programs have intricate rules and regulations. You want a lawyer intimately familiar with the fine print of PPP loan eligibility, forgiveness criteria, allowable uses of funds and required borrower certifications.

Of course, most attorneys can read up on the rules. But look for those who have already handled PPP and EIDL cases extensively. Their experience with the complex programs can help uncover irregularities and deficiencies in the prosecution’s arguments.

Look for Trial Experience

While most federal cases end in plea agreements, you want a lawyer comfortable going to trial. Prosecutors know which defense attorneys actually litigate cases and which ones exclusively negotiate pleas. This affects their settlement posture.

Experience litigating fraud and financial crime cases also prepares your lawyer to thoroughly evaluate weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. This puts them in the strongest position when negotiating a plea deal if you decide to go that route.

Consider Lawyers Handling Both Civil and Criminal Cases

Many federal fraud cases also involve parallel civil investigations by agencies like the SBA or SEC. For example, the government may seek civil penalties and recoupment of funds in addition to criminal prosecution.

Having one lawyer handle both sides of your case promotes consistency and efficiency. Information flows freely between the matters, helping build the overall defense strategy. Settlements in one realm can even help resolve the other.

Find Someone Who Knows How to Work with People

Fraud charges not only threaten people’s livelihoods but also their legacies. The stigma can destroy reputations built up over decades. You need a lawyer who understands these deeply personal implications.

Look for outstanding communication skills and emotional intelligence. Having a lawyer who can see things from your perspective builds trust and rapport. This leads to better strategic legal decisions and case outcomes.

Check Disciplinary History

Be sure to research any candidate thoroughly and check for disciplinary sanctions. Most state bar associations provide free online attorney disciplinary records. Be wary of things like license suspensions, reprimands and multiple client grievances.

Also, confirm the lawyer carries malpractice insurance. This covers you financially in case of mistakes made handling your case. Lack of coverage could leave you uncompensated for damages from poor legal work.

Ask About Specialized Training and Associations

Look for lawyers who pursue ongoing training in federal criminal defense and white collar crime litigation. Those certified in Criminal Trial Advocacy show dedication to honing courtroom skills. Membership in professional associations like the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers also demonstrates a commitment to staying abreast of developments in federal law and tactics.

Where to Find Top Virginia PPP/EIDL Fraud Lawyers

Virginia has many competent criminal defense attorneys. But for a complex federal fraud case with severe penalties on the line, you need more than just competence. Here are some places to focus your search for elite representation:

Look in Major Metropolitan Areas

The top federal criminal defense practices congregate in major metropolitan areas like Northern Virginia, Richmond, and the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area. These regions generate more sophisticated federal cases, so lawyers see them more routinely and develop specialized expertise.

In particular, Northern Virginia’s proximity to Washington D.C. means many firms handle cases in both jurisdictions. Look for attorneys admitted to practice in Eastern District of Virginia federal court as well as District of Columbia.

Search Near Federal Courthouses

Four federal courthouses house the main prosecutors’ offices and hold most trials: Alexandria, Richmond, Norfolk and Roanoke. Firms located near these seats of federal power routinely interact with prosecutors and judges. Local knowledge and relationships can prove invaluable.

Of course, a superb lawyer is worth a longer commute. But proximity often correlates with depth of federal practice experience.

Check Law School Pedigrees

While law school doesn’t define an attorney, elite degrees often correspond with exceptional talent. Graduates of top programs like University of Virginia, William & Mary, Washington & Lee and Georgetown arrive with intellectual horsepower. This brain trust gives them an edge in unraveling legal complexities.

Also look for federal judicial clerkships on resumes. Clerking for a federal judge provides an inside glimpse of the judicial mindset – invaluable when arguing your case.

Ask Trusted Referral Sources

Other criminal defense lawyers who focus elsewhere often know which attorneys excel in federal fraud litigation. White collar practitioners frequently co-counsel, refer and closely follow colleagues’ work, so they have inside perspective.

Well-connected business lawyers also have insight on who they’d hire if facing criminal charges themselves. Ask them to discreetly recommend federal fraud defense counsel.

Just be sure to independently research any suggestions yourself before deciding.

How to Select the Best Lawyer for Your Federal Fraud Case

If you or your business are being investigated or charged with PPP or EIDL fraud, you’re facing a complex, high-stakes legal battle. The right lawyer can help minimize your criminal, financial and reputational exposure. Use the expertise above to search for an attorney with the skills, experience and tenacity to give you the best chance of success. Then thoughtfully evaluate candidates to choose the one who makes you feel most comfortable and confident.

With so much on the line, investing time to select premier legal representation is one of the smartest decisions you can make. An experienced federal fraud lawyer who believes in your case can be the difference between imprisonment and exoneration. Let an elite Virginia attorney protect your rights, freedom and future.

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