12 Sep 23

Charlotte PPP – SBA – EIDL Loan Fraud Lawyers

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Last Updated on: 13th September 2023, 04:27 pm

Charlotte PPP – SBA – EIDL Loan Fraud Lawyers

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program have provided critical financial relief to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, amidst the rush to distribute funds quickly, fraud has become widespread. In Charlotte and across North Carolina, federal prosecutors are aggressively pursuing PPP and EIDL fraud cases. If your business is being audited or investigated, it is critical to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

The stakes are high, with charges carrying potential penalties of millions in fines and decades in prison. An attorney can evaluate the strength of the government’s case, advise on possible defenses, and attempt to resolve the matter before charges are filed. This article provides an overview of common fraudulent activities prosecutors are targeting, strategies for building a defense, and why hiring legal counsel early is vital to protecting your interests.

Types of PPP and EIDL Loan Fraud

While the PPP and EIDL programs were designed to get money to small businesses quickly, the relaxed eligibility requirements and application process inevitably led to widespread abuse. Some of the most common fraudulent activities being prosecuted include:

  • Falsifying employee, payroll, or revenue numbers on applications to receive larger loans
  • Using PPP funds for non-eligible expenses like personal purchases or debt repayment
  • Applying for multiple PPP loans through different lenders
  • Lying about having an existing business to obtain EIDL grants or loans
  • Using stolen identities or fake businesses to apply for funds
  • Colluding with lenders to process fraudulent applications for kickbacks

Prosecutors are data mining loan applications to identify red flags like duplicate tax IDs, suspicious spikes in payroll, or clearly falsified supporting documents. Any material misrepresentation or use of funds contrary to program rules can potentially lead to civil and criminal liability.

Building an Effective Defense Strategy

If your business is contacted by law enforcement or SBA auditors, it is essential to engage experienced legal counsel immediately. An attorney can advise you on how to respond and build a defense by:

  • Assessing errors versus intentional misrepresentations – There is greater leniency for unintentional mistakes versus deliberate fraud.
  • Highlighting extenuating circumstances – The pandemic created much confusion over changing program rules.
  • Disputing audit findings – The SBA calculation process contains many errors.
  • Arguing lack of criminal intent – You may have acted in good faith based on misunderstandings.
  • Negotiating repayment to avoid charges – Repayment may satisfy investigators in minor cases.
  • Invoking due diligence defenses – You may have exercised proper diligence based on information available.

An attorney can also negotiate with prosecutors for pretrial diversion or deferred prosecution agreements. These options involve repaying loan funds, fines, and compliance measures in exchange for avoiding criminal conviction.

Why Early Intervention of a Lawyer Is Critical

If you are contacted regarding suspicious PPP or EIDL activity, it is vital to engage legal counsel at the earliest opportunity rather than waiting for an indictment. An attorney can help protect your interests by:

  • Guiding interactions with investigators to avoid self-incrimination.
  • Identifying and preserving exculpatory evidence before it is lost.
  • Conducting a proactive internal investigation to uncover compliance issues.
  • Negotiating for diversion or deferred prosecution before charges are filed.
  • Petitioning for return of seized assets.
  • Advocating for no jail time and minimized penalties if charges are unavoidable.

In contrast, delaying intervention until after indictment severely impairs defense options and leverage. The old adage “justice delayed is justice denied” very much applies for those facing federal prosecution.

Choose an Attorney Specializing in Federal White Collar Cases

Given the complexities of PPP and EIDL program rules and the power of federal prosecutors, it is essential to retain legal counsel with specific expertise in federal white collar criminal defense. Key credentials to look for include:

  • Extensive experience representing clients in federal criminal investigations and prosecutions.
  • Specific knowledge of SBA program regulations and fraud enforcement priorities.
  • Familiarity with federal sentencing guidelines.
  • Strong negotiating skills for achieving optimal case resolutions.
  • Proven results in achieving reduced charges, fines, and sentences.

An experienced federal criminal defense attorney has the skills and credibility to protect your interests in dealings with investigators, prosecutors, and judges. This can make an enormous difference in avoiding the most serious outcomes.

Consult a Charlotte Federal Defense Lawyer Today

PPP and EIDL fraud prosecutions are ramping up rapidly across North Carolina. If your business is contacted regarding suspicious loan activity, engaging experienced legal counsel right away is absolutely vital to protecting yourself and your company. The attorneys at Charlotte Criminal Defense Lawyer have extensive experience representing clients in complex federal white collar cases and will provide skilled, aggressive representation. Call today for a free consultation on building the strongest possible defense.