The federal government has been vigorously prosecuting PPP loan fraud charges and other alleged crimes related to the CARES Act and Covid-19 fraud. The consequences of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan fraud charges are serious, and if you face federal charges you need the best criminal defense attorney you can find.
The federal criminal defense attorneys at the Rivas Law Firm provide a vigorous defense for people and businesses singled out for prosecution by the Justice Department. Many companies in Florida have been investigated and charged with loan forgiveness fraud. Our experienced and aggressive team will fight every aspect of the charges and work to regain access to frozen assets. Talk to the federal criminal defense lawyers in Orlando at the Rivas Law Firm for help with federal fraud charges, including mail fraud, wire fraud, false statements, and conspiracy to commit fraud. Call 407-644-2466 for a free consultation.
Types of PPP Loan Fraud
PPP loan fraud can take many forms, including submitting false information on loan applications, misusing the funds, or failing to meet the program’s requirements. Some common types of PPP loan fraud include:
- False Information on Loan Applications: Individuals or businesses that provide false information on loan applications can be charged with PPP loan fraud. This may include misrepresenting the number of employees, the amount of payroll, or the intended use of the funds.
- Misusing the Funds: PPP loans are intended for payroll, rent, utilities, and other approved expenses. Individuals or businesses that use the funds for personal expenses or other unauthorized purposes can be charged with PPP loan fraud.
- Failing to Meet Program Requirements: PPP loan recipients must meet certain requirements to be eligible for loan forgiveness. For example, they must maintain employee headcount and salary levels to qualify for full forgiveness. Businesses that fail to meet these requirements can face PPP loan fraud charges.
In addition to charges of making false statements in a loan application, wire fraud, and bank fraud, prosecutors are charging defendants with aggravated identity theft. Because a conviction carries a mandatory two-year minimum prison sentence, prosecutors often use the charge to pressure defendants to take a plea agreement.
If the federal government feels it doesn’t have a solid criminal case for PPP loan fraud charges, prosecutors may take civil enforcement actions under the False Claims Act, because the burden of proof is lower in civil cases. Civil penalties for making false statements in a PPP loan application can include a fine of up to $22,000 for each count, with the possibility of triple damages.
PPP Loan Fraud Consequences
Sentencing for PPP loan fraud charges can mean jail time, or more likely, a stretch in federal prison. For example, a Florida man was recently sentenced to six years in prison for submitting false PPP loan applications and using the funds for personal expenses. Other penalties include:
- Repayment of money illegally obtained
- Criminal fines
- Loss of government benefits
- Loss of professional license
- A permanent criminal record
Fighting PPP Loan Fraud Charges
The best defense against PPP loan fraud charges is to enlist the services of an experienced federal criminal defense attorney. By working with an experienced federal attorney, you can better assess the various available strategies and choose the best one for your situation. The Rivas Law Firm vigorously defends federal PPP loan fraud charges by challenging every element of the prosecution’s case.
Although facing criminal charges related to PPP loan fraud can be a daunting experience, the right defense strategy, combined with experienced and aggressive representation, can help you get the best possible outcome. With the right team in your corner, you will have a much better chance of successfully navigating this challenging legal situation. Talk to the federal criminal defense lawyers in Orlando at the Rivas Law Firm. Call 407-644-2466 for a free consultation.