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Florida PPP – SBA – EIDL Loan Fraud Lawyers

March 21, 2024 Uncategorized

Florida PPP Loan Fraud Lawyers

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was created in 2020 as part of the CARES Act to provide small businesses with loans to help them stay afloat during COVID-19 shutdowns. The loans were designed to cover payroll, rent, utilities and other expenses. The expectation was that the loans would help keep employees on payroll and allow businesses to quickly ramp up once the pandemic passed.

The loans came with an important provision – they could be entirely forgiven if the borrower used at least 60% of the funds toward payroll costs. This forgiveness clause made the loans very appealing to small business owners who were facing steep revenue declines. However, it also created an opening for abuse and fraud given the rush to get funds out the door.

Now, federal prosecutors are going after those who they believe intentionally misused PPP funds or made false statements on their loan applications. Charges range from wire fraud, bank fraud and making false statements to lenders. Defendants face hefty fines and years in prison if convicted.

For small business owners caught up in these allegations, having an experienced white collar defense lawyer can mean the difference between avoiding criminal charges altogether versus a felony conviction that could ruin their business and personal finances. Here’s an overview of PPP loan fraud issues and how a qualified legal team can help.

Where Are Most PPP Fraud Cases Occurring in Florida?

Florida is among the states with a high number of PPP fraud-related prosecutions. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in South Florida, which covers the Miami metro area, has been particularly active. Prosecutors have charged dozens of individuals and entities with PPP loan fraud over the past two years. Central Florida, including the Orlando and Tampa areas, has also seen numerous cases.

Federal investigators are data mining loan applications looking for red flags like:

  • Loans deposited into personal accounts rather than business accounts
  • Funds used to buy luxury items, pay off debts or other unauthorized purposes
  • Fake or inflated payroll numbers on applications
  • Multiple loans obtained for the same business
  • Loans obtained for fake or inactive businesses
  • Borrowers with criminal records for financial crimes applying for loans

U.S. Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez has said South Florida is a hotbed for fraud in part because of the large number of small businesses in the region. Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties received nearly 100,000 PPP loans worth over $10 billion. When that much money is distributed quickly, prosecutors expect a certain level of fraud will occur.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
2024-03-18
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
2024-03-18
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
2024-03-15
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
2024-03-12
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

PPP Loan Fraud Charges Being Pursued in Florida

Federal prosecutors are building cases using charges such as:

Wire fraud – Using electronic communications to execute or attempt to execute a scheme to defraud. This includes email, phone calls, electronic fund transfers etc.

Bank fraud – Scheme to defraud a financial institution or obtain money under its control through false or fraudulent representations.

Making false statements to a lending institution – Providing false information to a bank or other lending institution to influence a loan decision.

Money laundering – Engaging in transactions involving funds obtained illegally to conceal their criminal source.
Aggravated identity theft – Using someone else’s personal identifying information without authorization as part of a crime.

These white collar offenses can lead to serious penalties if not properly defended against. Wire fraud and bank fraud each carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. False statements can lead up to 30 years and $1 million per statement. Money laundering carries up to 10 years per count. Aggravated identity theft has a mandatory minimum 2 year prison sentence.

In addition to criminal prosecution, the government can pursue civil charges against PPP fraudsters to recoup funds. The Small Business Administration has already clawed back misused loans through debt collection proceedings. Borrowers can be ordered to repay loans plus interest, fees and other costs.

How an Experienced Attorney Can Defend PPP Fraud Cases

When facing PPP loan fraud accusations, it’s essential to engage an attorney experienced in complex white collar criminal defense as early in the process as possible. An experienced federal crimes lawyer can often intervene before charges are filed to convince prosecutors not to pursue a case.

Once charges are filed, an attorney’s in-depth knowledge of federal law and prosecution procedures becomes vital. For example, they will look for illegal searches or other constitutional violations that could result in evidence being suppressed or thrown out.

An effective defense lawyer will also thoroughly examine the paper trail to look for inaccuracies, missing documentation and other lapses that undermine the prosecution’s case. They can often demonstrate a client acted in good faith and did not intentionally mislead lenders. Negotiating a plea deal or seeking charge dismissals are other avenues skilled counsel can pursue.

If a trial becomes necessary, federal crime lawyers have the courtroom skills to counter prosecution arguments and present exculpatory evidence. Their relationships with expert witnesses can also bolster the defense.

Key Ways a Strong Legal Defense Can Beat PPP Fraud Charges

Suppress evidence obtained illegally – An experienced attorney will look for 4th Amendment violations and other procedural errors to get damning evidence barred from trial.

Attack flaws in prosecution’s case – By relentlessly picking apart the prosecution’s position, an attorney can often raise sufficient doubt for acquittal.

Negotiate plea deal – An attorney may be able to negotiate a plea to reduced charges or secure a favorable sentencing recommendation.

Seek charge dismissals – By highlighting problems with the government’s legal theory or evidence, charges can potentially be dismissed.

Present exculpatory evidence – A skilled lawyer will seek out evidence and witnesses to counter prosecution arguments.

Raise improper government conduct – Unscrupulous tactics by investigators can sometimes lead to charges being dismissed.

Develop technical arguments – Nuanced legal arguments can be made around things like statute of limitations, entrapment, federal jurisdiction etc.

Present mitigating circumstances – The defense can raise justifications, explanations and mitigating factors to reduce culpability.

Advocate for diversion programs – First offenders may be able to avoid prosecution by completing programs like pretrial diversion.

Argue against incarceration – The defense can advocate for probation, home confinement or other alternatives to imprisonment.

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Todd Spodek

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RALPH P. FRANCHO, JR

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JEREMY FEIGENBAUM

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ELIZABETH GARVEY

Associate

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CLAIRE BANKS

Associate

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RAJESH BARUA

Of-Counsel

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CHAD LEWIN

Of-Counsel

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