2024 What Is PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) Loan Fraud in Georgia?

The Law Office of Lawrence J. Zimmerman

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.

What is PPP Loan Fraud in Georgia?

PPP Loan Fraud: The Basics

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:

  • Making False Statements: Some businesses misrepresented their situation while applying for PPP loans, such as the number of employees or the size of the payroll. Others chose to file for loans using multiple lenders, a practice the government calls loan stacking. Any misrepresentation of the truth on a loan application could land a business in trouble with the federal government.
  • Misuse of Funds: PPP loans were intended to keep employees on the payroll and to ease the burden on businesses trying to pay workers while dealing with less income. While many businesses did use the loans properly, others used the funds for unapproved manners and lied about where they directed the money.
  • Lying to Auditors: If a business owner lied to an auditor during an investigation, they are also liable to be hit for PPP loan fraud.

How Do Authorities Investigate PPP Loan Fraud?

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.

What Are the Penalties for PPP Loan Fraud?

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:

  • Making false statements
  • Bank fraud
  • Tax evasion
  • Aggravated identity theft
  • False claims

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.

What Do I Do If I’m Facing a PPP Loan Fraud Accusation?

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.

FAQs About PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) Loan Fraud in Georgia

Is PPP Fraud Being Investigated?

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.

What Is Considered PPP Loan Fraud?

PPP loan fraud comes in two general categories:

  1. Lying to the government
  2. Misusing funds

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.

Is PPP Loan Fraud a Federal Crime?

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.

What Happens If You Report PPP Loan Fraud?

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.

Lawrence J. Zimmerman: Your Experienced Defense Attorney

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.

Office Location

Meet With A Lawyer

Schedule A Consultation

Fields Marked With An “*” Are Required

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.