Aggressive Defense Against Paycheck Protection Program Fraud Charges
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was designed to help small businesses survive during difficult times. However, the program came with a great deal of confusion and many questions: Who is eligible for PPP loans? What is required to get a loan? What are the loans to be used for?
Now, in the aftermath of that confusion, businesses in Michigan and nationwide are being investigated for or charged with PPP loan fraud. Some made mistakes or left information off on their loan application. Others used money improperly. Yet others were just caught up in an increasingly broad dragnet conducted by the Department of Justice’s Market Integrity and Major Frauds (MIMF) Unit, along with the Department of the Treasury and a host of other state and federal law enforcement agencies.
Since these loans have only been issued since early 2020, the legal matters surrounding them are new. At Law Office of John Freeman, we bring decades of experience to handling developing and complex legal matters. Attorney John Freeman is a former federal and state prosecutor. In those roles, he took on high-profile cases, including white collar charges and other federal crimes along the lines of PPP loan fraud. That experience benefits those facing these unique charges.
Based in Troy, our law firm defends individuals and businesses in the Detroit area and throughout Michigan.
What Might Lead To Accusations Of PPP Loan Fraud?
The Paycheck Protection Program was created as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and is backed by the Small Business Administration (SBA). These loans come with a very low interest rate and, perhaps most importantly, are forgivable.
Business owners, employees and associates are being charged with fraud for omitting or falsifying information on their application in order to obtain PPP loan money. The loan application requires a great deal of info, and leaving something off or failing to disclose something like tax info is treated as a serious matter, as these loans may be as high as hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars.
In at least one instance, charges were filed against a person for coaching business owners to qualify for PPP loan money by falsifying or misstating information on the application. There are also charges filed against businesses for submitting multiple PPP loan applications. Other allegations include businesses forming just to obtain PPP loans or people obtaining PPP loans for nonexistent businesses.
What Are The Charges For People Accused Of PPP Fraud?
Accusations of CARES Act loan fraud may result in a variety of fraud charges, from loan fraud to wire fraud to bank fraud. They may also be accompanied by related white collar crime charges like money laundering or conspiracy.
If you have received or helped a business obtain a PPP loan and you are questioned by investigators from the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Justice or another investigative body, you should remember your right to remain silent and your right to a lawyer. Even if you are told it’s just a basic questioning and you are not under suspicion, it is better to be safe and have a lawyer who understands these delicate matters on your side to prevent any issues or stave them off before they worsen.
If you have been accused of fraudulently obtaining a Payroll Protection Program loan, immediate action is critical because your future and the future of your business are at stake. We take swift action in these cases to protect your rights from day one.