12 Sep 23

Arlington PPP – SBA – EIDL Loan Fraud Lawyers

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Last Updated on: 13th September 2023, 06:10 pm

PPP Fraud Lawyers

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was supposed to provide a lifeline for small businesses struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. But prosecutors say some people saw it as an opportunity for fraud. Allegations of PPP loan scams have been popping up across the country. For anyone facing charges, having an experienced criminal defense lawyer can mean the difference between prison and avoiding conviction. This article will break down the basics of PPP fraud cases and how a knowledgeable attorney can defend you.

What is PPP Loan Fraud?

The PPP was part of the CARES Act passed in 2020 to help small businesses survive the economic impacts of COVID-19. PPP loans were basically free money that businesses could use to cover payroll, rent, utilities and other expenses. As long as the loans were used as intended, they’d be forgiven by the Small Business Administration (SBA).But of course, some folks saw this as a chance to game the system and make some easy money. Prosecutors go after two main types of PPP loan fraud:

  • Application Fraud: Lying on the application about your business, number of employees, payroll expenses, etc. to get a bigger loan amount.
  • Misuse of Funds: Getting the loan but then spending it on unauthorized expenses like personal purchases, paying off debts, etc.

Some common PPP loan fraud schemes include:

  • Applying for multiple loans for the same business (known as “loan stacking”)
  • Creating fake businesses or employees to apply for loans
  • Colluding with a dishonest lender to rubber stamp applications without proper vetting
  • Transferring loan money to personal accounts and using it for unauthorized expenses

The penalties for PPP loan fraud can be severe – up to 30 years in prison and $1 million fines per charge. So facing allegations is scary. But a skilled lawyer can help.

Recent PPP Fraud Cases

The government has been aggressively prosecuting PPP fraud over the past couple years. Some notable cases include:

  • In March 2022, two brothers in Chicago were indicted for allegedly getting $1.2 million in PPP loans for fake car wash and daycare businesses. 
  • In February 2022, a Miami man was charged with wire and bank fraud for obtaining $4 million in PPP loans in the names of non-operational businesses. 
  • In June 2021, two men in Rhode Island were charged with using PPP loans to buy a Mercedes, Rolex watches and pay off personal debts. They got over $500,000 in fraudulent loans. 
  • In May 2021, a Texas man was charged with bank fraud and money laundering for getting $1.6 million in PPP loans and using it to buy real estate, vehicles, and pay off loans. 

As you can see, PPP fraud cases big and small have been prosecuted across the U.S. And there are many more cases in the works as the investigations continue.

How a Lawyer Can Defend Against PPP Fraud Charges

Given the complex web of rules around PPP loans, having an experienced criminal defense lawyer is crucial if you’re facing federal fraud allegations. A knowledgeable attorney can thoroughly examine the evidence and identify defenses to get charges reduced or dismissed.Here are some of the ways a skilled lawyer may defend PPP loan fraud charges:

  • No Intent to Defraud: For fraud charges, prosecutors must prove you knowingly tried to deceive. Your lawyer can argue you made an honest mistake or misunderstood the loan rules.
  • Duress or Coercion: If someone else pressured you into committing fraud, that’s a potential defense.
  • Minimal Loss: The dollar amount of the loan and actual loss to lenders affects sentencing. Your lawyer can demonstrate you used most funds properly.
  • Cooperation and Repayment: Offering to cooperate with investigators and repay any misused funds can help secure a favorable plea deal.
  • Rights Violations: If evidence was obtained illegally through improper searches or interrogations, your lawyer may get it suppressed.
  • Statute of Limitations: There are time limits on bringing fraud charges that a lawyer can use to potentially get charges dismissed if too much time has passed.

Having an experienced federal crimes attorney to navigate the complex PPP rules is critical to building an effective defense.

Finding the Best PPP Fraud Lawyer

If you’re being investigated or charged with PPP loan fraud, it’s important to find the right lawyer quickly. Here are some tips:

  • Search for lawyers with specific experience defending PPP fraud cases. Check their website or call and ask about their background handling these types of cases.
  • Look for someone well-versed in federal white collar criminal defense. PPP fraud falls under federal jurisdiction so you want a lawyer used to dealing with FBI, IRS, SBA and DOJ investigators and prosecutors.
  • Consider lawyers located in your state. They will have familiarity with local prosecutors and courts which can provide an advantage.
  • Meet with lawyers before retaining them. Discuss your case details to get an idea of their defense strategy and whether you feel comfortable with them.
  • Ask about legal fees upfront. Rates can vary widely so understand what you’ll be paying and how it will be billed.
  • Look for excellent communicators. You’ll want a lawyer who can clearly explain the complex issues in your case and keeps you informed every step of the way.
  • Check reviews from past clients to gauge the lawyer’s responsiveness, legal skills and ability to get positive outcomes.

With the right guidance, even serious PPP fraud charges may potentially be overcome or mitigated. Connect with an experienced defense lawyer as soon as possible for help protecting your future.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common mistakes people make when applying for PPP loans? Some common mistakes include overestimating payroll expenses and number of employees, using inaccurate NAICS codes, failing to account for affiliation rules, and not retaining proper documentation.

What should I do if I discover potential fraud in PPP loans my business received? Consult an attorney immediately. Do not ignore the issue. An attorney can help investigate what happened, report it to authorities, and demonstrate your cooperation.

Can you get charged with PPP fraud if you didn’t intend to break the rules? Yes, not having intent to defraud is a potential defense but does not automatically prevent charges. Prosecutors may argue you should have known better. An experienced lawyer can fight charges by arguing there was no intent.