The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was created to financially assist small businesses
impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program, like most governmental benefit programs,
has been tainted with fraud, and the Department of Justice has been cracking down on those
who have committed PPP loan fraud. You could face serious consequences if you are charged
with PPP loan fraud.
In this blog post, we will explore the charges you could face and what they entail.
What is PPP Loan Fraud?
PPP loan fraud occurs when an individual or company submits false information or documentation to obtain PPP loan funds. This can include falsifying financial records, inflating payroll expenses, or misrepresenting the number of employees to be eligible for more money. PPP loan fraud can result in charges for wire fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit fraud.
Wire fraud is a federal crime that involves the use of electronic communication to commit fraud. In the case of PPP loan fraud, wire fraud charges can be brought if an individual or company uses email, phone calls, or other electronic means to communicate false information or documentation to obtain PPP loan funds. Wire fraud carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Bank fraud involves obtaining funds or assets from a financial institution using false information or deception. In the case of PPP loan fraud, bank fraud charges can be brought if an individual or company submits false information or documentation to a bank to obtain PPP loan funds. Bank fraud carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000.
Conspiracy to Commit Fraud
If two or more individuals or companies work together to commit PPP loan fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud is charged. This charge can be added to wire fraud or bank fraud charges and carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000.
What to Do If You Are Charged with PPP Loan Fraud
If you get charged with PPP loan fraud, seek legal representation from an experienced attorney. An attorney can help you understand the charges against you, build a strong defense, and protect your rights throughout the legal process.
Gather any documentation or evidence that can support your defense. Keeping records can include financial records, payroll reports, and communication with the bank. Your attorney can help you gather this evidence and present it in court.
Finally, cooperate with the authorities and be honest about any mistakes or misrepresentations made during the PPP loan application process. Admitting mistakes early on can help mitigate the severity of the charges and potential penalties.
PPP loan fraud can carry serious consequences, including imprisonment and fines. If you are facing charges of PPP loan fraud, seeking legal representation from an experienced attorney and gathering evidence to support your defense is essential. Being honest and cooperative with the authorities can also help mitigate the severity of the charges and potential penalties.
At John T. Floyd Law Firm, we have experience defending individuals and companies charged with white-collar crimes, including PPP loan fraud. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help protect your rights and interests.