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Maine PPP – SBA – EIDL Loan Fraud Lawyers

March 21, 2024 Uncategorized

Maine PPP – SBA – EIDL Loan Fraud Lawyers

The COVID-19 pandemic hit small businesses hard, and the government tried to help with programs like the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). These loans were supposed to be a lifeline. But now, folks are getting accused of abusing them. If you’re facing charges in Maine, you need to know your rights and options. This article will break it down in simple terms.

What is PPP and EIDL Fraud?

  • PPP loans were supposed to cover payroll and other expenses for 8 weeks. If you kept employee numbers, the loan could be 100% forgiven.
  • EIDLs provided low-interest loans up to $2 million for operating costs.
  • EIDL advances up to $10k didn’t have to be paid back.

By mid-2021, the SBA approved over $800 billion in PPP loans and $200 billion in EIDL loans/advances.

What Happens in a Federal Investigation?

Federal agents won’t mess around if they suspect PPP or EIDL fraud. Here’s some intimidating tactics they use:

  • Showing up unannounced at your home or business
  • Demanding paperwork and trying to search your property
  • Sending subpoenas for financial records
  • Having people secretly record you
  • Threatening immediate arrest if you don’t cooperate

This is scary to deal with alone. Do not speak to federal agents without an attorney present. Be polite, but say you won’t answer questions without a lawyer. Then call one right away.

An experienced lawyer can guide you on properly responding to investigators. They may also be able to negotiate with prosecutors before charges are even filed. This could potentially resolve the case without criminal penalties.

Fighting Fraud Charges in Maine Courts

If you do get charged, your lawyer’s defense will depend on your specific case. But some approaches they may use include:

  • Arguing you had no intent to defraud – For example, showing you used the funds properly or made an honest mistake on the application.
  • Attacking flaws in the investigation – Like if agents improperly obtained evidence or coerced a confession from you.
  • Negotiating with prosecutors for lesser charges or a plea deal to avoid trial.
  • At trial, discrediting witnesses or evidence and creating reasonable doubt.

An experienced federal defense attorney will know how to strategically fight your case at every stage for the best possible outcome.

Tips for Finding the Right Fraud Lawyer

Picking the right lawyer is crucial when facing federal fraud charges. Here are some tips on what to look for:

  • Find someone with extensive experience defending white collar and financial crime cases in Maine’s federal courts. They’ll understand how things work locally and have connections with judges and prosecutors.
  • Make sure they have represented PPP and EIDL fraud cases before. You want someone intimately familiar with these programs and technical details that could help your defense.
  • Ask about their track record getting charges dismissed pre-trial, keeping defendants out of prison, and negotiating favorable plea deals. This shows their ability to strategically fight the government.
  • Be sure they have resources to handle a complex fraud case. These require thorough investigation and financial analysis which can get expensive. A top lawyer will invest what’s needed to build the strongest case for you.
  • See if you feel comfortable with their communication style. You’ll be working closely together under stressful circumstances. Make sure it’s someone you trust and connect with.

Don’t just choose any lawyer without vetting their background. Finding the right fit for your case makes a huge difference. So take time to research and ask questions upfront.

Stay Calm and Take Action

Getting hit with federal fraud accusations is terrifying. But try to stay calm and focus on taking the right steps:

  • Don’t panic – With an experienced lawyer’s help, you can get through this.
  • Don’t talk to investigators without counsel – Anything you say can be used against you.
  • Hire a lawyer ASAP – The earlier you have legal advice, the better your chances of a favorable outcome.
  • Follow your lawyer’s advice – They know how to respond to allegations and build the strongest defense.
  • Stay positive – This is not easy, but focus on taking it one step at a time.

PPP and EIDL fraud charges are serious. But an experienced Maine federal defense lawyer can help protect your rights, freedom, and business. Don’t go it alone against the federal government. Get skilled legal representation on your side right away.

The Scope of PPP Fraud

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was launched in 2020 as part of the CARES Act to provide emergency loans and grants to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the PPP provided a lifeline to millions of businesses and saved jobs, it was also exploited by fraudsters on an enormous scale.

Experts estimate that over $100 billion was stolen through PPP loan fraud, making it potentially the largest fraud in generations.

Massive Scale of Estimated Fraud

The PPP program involved over $800 billion in loans, but oversight and controls were initially very weak due to the rush to get money out quickly during the pandemic. This lack of safeguards created an environment ripe for exploitation.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) Inspector General estimates that $78.1 billion in potentially fraudulent Economic Injury Disaster Loans were disbursed, along with another $20 billion in fraudulent PPP loans – over $100 billion total.

Independent analyses also point to huge fraud numbers. A 2022 study from the University of Texas-Austin estimates almost 5 times more suspicious PPP loans than the SBA Inspector General, totaling up to $117 billion.

In summary, PPP fraud ranges from $78 billion on the low end to over $100 billion on the high end, making it a staggering fraud epidemic. The Justice Department will be chasing these cases for years.

Common PPP Fraud Schemes

Fraudsters took advantage of the rushed PPP program in various ways:

  • Identity Theft – Criminals stole business owners’ identities to apply for loans under their names. Victims only found out when notified of default on a loan they never took out.
  • Fake Businesses – Fraudsters fabricated businesses with fake employee and payroll numbers to obtain large PPP loans. Some registered new sham companies while others revived dormant corporations.
  • Multiple Loan Applications – Scammers submitted multiple loan applications with identical information under different business names. Others applied for multiple loans for the same business.
  • Misuse of Funds – Business owners obtained PPP loans but used funds for prohibited purposes like personal expenses instead of payroll.

These schemes exploited the lack of verification and duplicative loan controls early in the PPP program.

Lack of Oversight and Safeguards

The rushed launch of the PPP program led to minimal audits and oversight. For example:

  • Only 0.2% of loans received detailed SBA review.

These gaps allowed widespread PPP loan fraud. However, oversight has increased, and the Justice Department can still prosecute fraud even years later.

Real-Life Maine PPP Fraud Cases

To understand how PPP fraud plays out, let’s look at some real-life cases of Maine business owners who got charged:

Mark Haley – Levant, ME

  • Owner of several businesses including a hotel and restaurant
  • Applied for $1.2 million in PPP loans using fabricated documents that inflated employee numbers and payroll expenses
  • Also got $122k in fraudulent EIDL loans
  • Pleaded guilty to bank fraud in August 2022
  • Sentenced to 33 months in federal prison in January 2023

Nathan Reardon – Skowhegan, ME

  • Owner of Global Disruptive Technologies
  • Applied for $60k PPP loan falsely claiming 25 employees
  • No evidence company had any real business operations
  • Funds went to Reardon’s personal use
  • Pleaded guilty to bank fraud in July 2021
  • Sentenced to 1 year in prison

Lucas Sirois – Farmington, ME

  • Former gubernatorial candidate
  • CEO of Community Clinical Services company
  • Applied for $660k PPP loan falsely claiming 65 employees
  • Only had 4 employees
  • Pleaded guilty to bank fraud in July 2022
  • Awaiting sentencing

These cases show Maine business owners face serious consequences like multi-year prison sentences for PPP loan fraud.

How an Attorney Can Defend Against Fraud Charges

When facing PPP fraud accusations, having an experienced white collar defense lawyer is crucial. A knowledgeable attorney can protect your rights and build the strongest case possible using strategies like:

  • No intent to defraud – Argue you made an honest mistake or misunderstanding on the loan application rather than intentionally deceiving.
  • Improper government conduct – File motions to suppress evidence if agents violated your rights or procedures during investigation.
  • Duress or coercion – Claim you were unlawfully pressured into committing fraud by a third party.
  • Bookkeeping errors – If issues like inaccurate employee numbers stem from sloppy recordkeeping rather than fraud, make that argument.
  • Repayment – Offer to repay the loan funds as proof you had no intent to defraud the government.
  • Plea negotiations – Work out a favorable plea deal rather than risk trial if the evidence is strong.
  • Sentencing mitigation – If convicted, present mitigating circumstances to argue for minimal jail time.

Don’t try to navigate federal fraud charges alone. An experienced lawyer can protect your rights, freedom, and business.


The COVID pandemic led to rampant PPP loan fraud across America. But Maine business owners still face serious consequences if accused. These complex cases require an experienced federal defense lawyer to fight the charges. Key steps if you’re being investigated for PPP or EIDL fraud include:

  • Remain silent and get a lawyer before talking to agents
  • Vet attorneys thoroughly and find someone experienced with financial fraud
  • Follow your lawyer’s advice to protect your rights through the investigation
  • Explore all defense strategies to get charges dismissed or mitigated
  • Don’t panic – skilled legal counsel can help achieve the best outcome

Facing the federal government is scary. But the stakes are too high to go it alone. With an experienced fraud defense lawyer protecting your interests, you can get through this challenging situation.

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