As part of the CARES Act, the federal government enacted the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) in order to provide emergency financial relief to businesses during COVID-19. Numerous PPP loans are now under investigation by federal authorities.
When the federal government established this program, the loans were given out as quickly as possible and with little oversight in order to provide immediate assistance to impacted businesses. The federal government, however, did warn individuals who applied for the loans that any fraud in connection with a PPP loan would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
The Department of Justice established a COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to investigate and prosecute individuals and businesses suspected of loan fraud. Individuals under investigation for PPP loan fraud have been prosecuted under a number of criminal statutes including bank fraud, submitting false statements to a financial institution, and money laundering.
Numerous activities with regard to PPP loans can result in criminal charges including: loan stacking, fraudulent loan applications, using loan funds for a fraudulent purpose, fraud in connection with the loan certification or loan forgiveness certification, or using the PPP loan funds for an ineligible business purposes. In addition to facing possible criminal charges for obtaining the loan fraudulently, individuals can subject themselves to additional criminal charges by withholding or making misrepresentations to the authorities during an investigation. This is why it is imperative to contact a criminal defense firm.
If you or your company is under investigation for PPP loan fraud, it is important to retain a defense attorney immediately.