PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loan fraud is a popular topic in today’s political climate, and many high-profile people are finding themselves facing fraud charges from the federal government. Federal prosecutors are continuing to investigate any misuse of PPP loans and levy penalties against any alleged offenders.
If you find yourself dealing with an investigation, you need an Atlanta Federal PPP Loan Fraud Attorney. Having the right defense attorney, like Lawrence J. Zimmerman, can help you explain your side of the story or reduce any punishment.
PPP loan fraud is a commonly discussed white-collar crime in the news today. To properly understand what constitutes PPP loan fraud, it is important to first examine the Paycheck Protection Program.
The Paycheck Protection Program was an act by the federal government early in the COVID-19 pandemic to help ease the burden on businesses and American citizens affected by the resulting economic downturn. The act allowed qualifying businesses to apply for a loan to keep paying their employees during the time of greatest economic strife.
The government forgave most of the loans but also began researching the possibility of fraud. Whether it was a business misusing the funds, lying on an application, or taking more than their fair share, the government began to go after business owners who it believed were responsible for PPP loan fraud.
PPP loan fraud comes in many varieties. Some of the ways the government may accuse someone of running afoul of PPP rules include:
Federal agencies investigate any potential PPP loan fraud using several methods. They gather evidence through subpoenas and whistleblowers to make their cases. In more extraordinary circumstances, they use wiretaps to gain information for an arrest.
Federal agents also work with banks to research any PPP loan misuse. These banks have records on the business owner and may give them to agents to showcase discrepancies.
If your business is under an investigation for PPP loan fraud, the government may freeze the loan account while working to determine if any offense occurred.
Penalties for PPP loan fraud depend on the nature of the offense. Smaller situations may warrant minor fines, but major cases could land you some jail time. The government may charge you with several possible crimes following an alleged PPP loan fraud investigation. The government may charge you with:
Any of these charges carries with it harsh penalties. You may be looking at a fine of up to a million dollars and up to 30 years in jail for some of them. The maximum sentence will depend on how much the loan was for and in what ways the business lied to the government or misused the funds.
If you are facing PPP loan fraud charges, you need to contact an Atlanta federal defense lawyer and law firm quickly. Having a defense attorney with experience dealing with the federal government is key to getting the ideal outcome. The proper attorney can help you avoid the worst penalties.
Yes! The federal government is watching and analyzing all the cases of PPP loans they gave out in 2020. Any misuse of funds could end with a business being investigated by the government for potential PPP loan fraud. Even business owners who didn’t know that they were misusing funds could be liable for prosecution.
Authorities are using subpoenas and bank records to verify statements from businesses. Whistleblowers are also assisting the government with making cases.
PPP loan fraud comes in two general categories:
Some business owners lied while submitting their applications, whether it was misrepresenting the size of their business or applying for multiple loans illegally.
PPP loans were intended for businesses to continue paying employees during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Misusing the funds for other business expenses or pocketing the money is a violation of the rules of PPP loans.
Yes! PPP loans came from the federal government, so any fraud related to them is a federal crime. The U.S. government has more resources available to it than the states do, so it can spend more and use more manpower to investigate crimes.
If you find yourself facing a PPP loan fraud accusation, you need a seasoned Atlanta federal defense lawyer and law firm on your side.
The government considers anyone reporting PPP loan fraud as a whistleblower. The government may ask you to turn over any documents you have that corroborate your story and to testify in court.
Whistleblowers may collect between 30 and 15 percent of the funds that the government secures in any fraud investigation.
If you’re dealing with a PPP loan fraud accusation, you should hire legal counsel as soon as possible. Lawrence J. Zimmerman can fight for you to get you the greatest deal with the government. Contact the firm today for help and a consultation.