Atlanta Federal PPP Loan Fraud Attorney

Atlanta Federal PPP Loan Fraud Attorney

Atlanta Federal PPP Loan Fraud Lawyer

Although many things have returned to normal, the COVID-19 pandemic changed American business practices. When things were uncertain, and so many companies faced bankruptcy or closure, the government stepped in to provide support in several areas. This helped to lessen the blows that small businesses would face throughout 2020.

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was one such program. It offered employers and employees the guarantee of regular paychecks, even if the business was suffering overall. This kept millions of Americans from facing financial insecurity. It also allowed hundreds of businesses to remain open through hard times.

As with many COVID-19 measures, PPP has come to an end as restrictions ease and businesses begin to stabilize. However, this does not mean that the effects of these programs have ceased.In fact, some businesses and business owners are facing unfair or negative legal action and accusations of fraud.Many PPP loans are becoming due, and the government is catching up with application details.

If you have been accused of collecting a fraudulent PPP loan, or are facing an investigation, it is important to take legal action right away. White collar crimes such as these can wreak serious havoc on your business and future. They can also result in serious personal and professional consequences. Our team at The Law Office of Lawrence J. Zimmerman is here to represent you for all of your white collar criminal defense needs.

The Law Office of Lawrence J. Zimmerman: Criminal Defense for Federal PPP Loan Fraud Charges

For over 25 years, our team at The Law Office of Lawrence J. Zimmerman has been fighting for our clients’ rights and liberties. We know that the accusation of wrongdoing is not indicative of guilt. Rather, it is often the result of misunderstandings, false accusations, or mistakes. In any scenario, we strongly believe that everyone deserves the right to a proper criminal defense, no matter what the accusation or severity of the crime may be. We take our job very seriously. Our firm works tirelessly for each of our criminal defense clients.

When you are facing PPP loan fraud accusations, you need an attorney who can approach your situation without judgment. Your attorney should instead look at the situation logically and clearly. We pride ourselves on our impeccable work ethic and our familiarity with white collar criminal defense. Our experience in this field makes us an asset to your case. Our team can give you the resources necessary to properly fight the accusations.

During our time in business, we have acquitted individuals facing a wide variety of criminal charges. We are proud to have given so many people the fundamental right to a qualified attorney, especially when our clients are facing a low point in their lives and careers. We can offer you reliable, honest legal support. This allows you to make informed decisions about your case and empowers you to fight your charges.

If you need a PPP defense attorney in the Atlanta area, look no further than our team at The Law Office of Lawrence J. Zimmerman.

What Is a PPP Loan?

A PPP loan, or paycheck protection program loan, is an influx of money that businesses could apply for during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. These loans came from the United States federal government. They were aimed at helping businesses pay their employees when normal operations and profits were disrupted. A business owner could obtain one of these loans through the Department of the Treasury.

The PPP loan system provided 8 weeks of funding for paychecks, including employee benefits. However, the loan holder was also permitted to use the money to pay for rent or mortgage, utilities, and similar basic business expenses. To apply for the first round, a business must:

  • Be established and running before February 15, 2020.
  • Be operational and open when the application is submitted.
  • Employ 500 people or fewer (per location if there are multiple).

The program was intended to support small businesses specifically, but organizations of all types could apply. This includes nonprofits, veteran service centers, and other similar businesses. There were several rounds of PPP loans throughout the duration of the program. Some businesses were able to apply for two rounds of support, while others could only take advantage of a single round. For the second round of applications, the operation date and requirements remained the same, but there were some altered criteria. To receive a second round, a business must:

  • Employ 300 people or fewer (per location if there are multiple).
  • Have proof of a 25% or higher drop in gross revenue.

The PPP loan program ended on May 31, 2021, and it is no longer accepting applications. If you are still paying back your PPP loan, there may be loan forgiveness available to you, depending on your situation.

What Is PPP Fraud?

PPP fraud encompasses situations in which a business or an individual representing one filed for a loan with false information. This could be filing for a loan for a business that does not exist. It could also involve a business that should not have been eligible for the program.

PPP loans came from multiple bank lenders, so some fraudulent activity occurred in the form of “loan stacking.” This is a practice where a business applies for loans from multiple different lenders.

In other fraudulent scenarios, business owners used the funds from the PPP loans for unapproved purposes. Unlike personal or other types of business loans, PPP loans must have been used for predetermined purposes and not for general expenses. If a business owner used a PPP loan for an unapproved expense, they could be charged with fraud.

PPP loan fraud can also occur in the loan forgiveness process. Some businesses filed for PPP loan forgiveness with fraudulent or inaccurate documentation.That is considered a federal offense and carries a fraud charge.

Potential Federal Charges and Penalties for PPP Fraud

If you are facing PPP fraud charges, it is essential that you understand the nature of your situation. The charges for this offense are severe, and you can face decades of consequences if convicted.

The exact charges that you face will depend on the severity of the offense and the details of the fraudulent behavior. However, there are some common charges associated with PPP loan fraud.

Making False Statements to a Federal Agency

When you apply for a PPP loan, you must attest that the information you provide is as accurate as possible. If the information was falsified, it means that you lied to the Small Business Association (SBA) and the Department of the Treasury. Both are federal agencies, and making false statements to either one constitutes a serious charge.

This is an extremely serious charge. It comes with a fine of up to $1,000,000 and up to 30 years in a federal prison.

Making False Statements to a Federal Agent

In addition to lying to a federal agency, an offender may face charges for lying to a federal agent. This can occur if they have been audited by the SBA, DOJ, or FBI for allegations of loan fraud. If any statements that the individual makes during these investigations turn out to be false, they can face additional fines and penalties for lying to a federal agent.

The additional charges for this offense include up to $500,000 in fines and up to five years in a federal prison.

Bank Fraud

Because the PPP loans were processed through banks, fraudulent applications through the bank carry additional charges. These can occur in conjunction with the charges for making false statements to the SBA. They may also exist on their own.

Bank fraud carries a fine of up to $1,000,000 and up to 30 years in federal prison.

Wire Fraud

As with many applications and communications in the modern era, PPP applications occurred online. The money may also have been transferred through a bank routing number. Any fraudulent activity that occurs online may result in wire fraud charges. This can carry an additional fine of up to $500,000 and up to 20 years in federal prison.

Tax Evasion

If a company used the PPP loan funds for unapproved expenses, and then claimed deductions for these expenses, they have committed tax evasion. In fact, unlawful use of PPP loans alone is sufficient activity for a tax evasion charge.

Tax evasion results in up to $500,000 in fines and up to five years in federal prison.

Aggravated Identity Theft

For those who used an alternative company, individual, or false information for their PPP application, aggravated identity theft is a possible charge.

Aggravated identity theft comes with two additional years infederal prison on top of the other charges. Prison time for aggravated identity theft charges must be served consecutively.

Conspiracy or Attempt

On top of existing charges, the federal government may charge an individual with conspiracy for trying to submit a fraudulent PPP loan. An attempt to do socarries a similar charge. The consequences for these offenses depend on the other charges that the individual is facing.

Unintended Consequences of a Federal Crimes Conviction

Any court-ordered penalties are not the only ones that you may face. There are many unintended consequences to federal crimes that many people do not consider. Common examples include:

  • Severed relationships with family and friends, including divorce
  • Loss of your business
  • Loss of your finances, including personal savings and property
  • Ruined reputation, accompanied by difficulty finding and maintaining a job when you are released from prison
  • Ineligibility for other government programs
  • Ineligibility for housing, loans, credit cards, etc.
  • Inability to vote in local, state, and federal elections
  • Loss of the right to own firearms and other weapons

This is not an exhaustive list of the ways that a federal conviction can overturn your personal life. Many people will face consequences for the rest of their lives if they are found guilty.

Why Do I Need a Federal PPP Fraud Attorney?

The consequences of PPP fraud are severe. The fines can easily reach seven figures, while prison time ranges from a few years to several decades. Your entire life is on the line if you are facing PPP charges. It is essential that you make a concerted effort to put up a strong defense. The most effective way to do this is with the help of a federal crimes attorney.

Many of the charges listed above are difficult to explain or challenge unless you have significant experience in this area. As many attorneys lack the training to do this, it is nearly impossible for a non-lawyer to successfully refute federal charges. Fighting your own case will almost certainly fail, leaving you to face the full scope of the consequences.

When you have legal representation, you might eliminate or minimize the charges you are facing. Additionally, many people with legal representation can achieve a favorable plea deal. Your attorney can negotiate one if the prosecution will not dismiss the case or give in to a charge reduction.

With a highly experienced attorney, you are making the strongest possible effort in your favor. Even though PPP loans are new, our team at The Law Office of Lawrence J. Zimmerman has decades of experience fighting cases that are very similar to these. We have represented clients againstall the above charges. Our firm offers comprehensive and reliable legal services to successfully navigate your case.

PPP Fraud Appeals

If you have already been convicted of PPP loan fraud, there is still help available for you. The United States appeals process allows you to take your situation to a higher court for reevaluation. Although you cannot add additional information or evidence in an appeals case, you can give yourself a second chance to win your case.

Appeals require the help of a qualified federal crimes defense attorney. Our team at The Law Office of Lawrence J. Zimmerman has a strong history of success in appeals court while representing a variety of cases. We can see the discrepancies and details that other attorneys miss, giving our clients a strong argument in appeals court.

How Much Does a Federal Crimes Defense Lawyer Cost?

The cost of your federal crimes defense attorney will depend on the attorney’s experience. It will also be influenced bythe type and complexityof your case. Because there is so much variability in cases, it is most effective to speak directly with potential attorneys about their individual rates. This will allow you to be more prepared for the cost of your representation. This can alsoensure that you can afford your attorney’s services for the duration of your case.

Investing in a qualified attorney is often much more economical than the cost of the fines if you are found guilty.

What Should I Look for in a PPP Fraud Federal Crimes Defense Attorney?

Experience is the top indicator of a good federal crimes defense attorney. It is essential that you find someone who has direct experience with PPP fraud. This can be difficult to find. As PPP loans only became available in 2020, very few attorneys have dealt with these cases. However, our team at The Law Office of Lawrence J. Zimmerman does have direct experience in this area. We can provide unique insight into these niche cases. Thisgives our clients an advantage in the courtroom.

Your attorney should also make you feel like a top priority. Your future is in jeopardy in this case. Therefore, you deserve someone who can offer you care and attention.

It is true that all criminal defense charges come with the option of free legal representation. With complex cases like PPP fraud, it is to your advantage to hire a private attorneyto give your case proper attention.

When Should I Hire a Federal Crimes Defense Lawyer?

The sooner your attorney can begin to build your case and speak with agents and law enforcement on your behalf, the better. If you have been notified that you are being audited, be sure to hire an attorney and have them present during the audit process. You should find and hire an attorney as soon as you realize that you may be in legal trouble.

If you took out a PPP loan, and are nervous about future issues, have an attorney ready to step in as soon as the law takes action against you. It is never too soon to hire legal representation.

Contact The Law Office of Lawrence J. Zimmerman

Our team has significant experience in federal crime defense, PPP loans, and other complicated scenarios. We are here to be your fierce advocates and make sure that your side of the story is heard. Remember, an arrest is not a conviction. There is always time to protect yourself with an experienced attorney from The Law Office of Lawrence J. Zimmerman.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please contact The Law Office of Lawrence J. Zimmerman today.

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white Collar Crimes
white Collar Crimes
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