NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED FEDERAL LAWYERS
Last Updated on: 13th September 2023, 12:38 am
Dealing with PPP and EIDL Fraud Charges in Omaha
Getting accused of PPP or EIDL fraud is scary stuff. The government is taking these cases super seriously and going after small business owners across the country. But a good Omaha fraud defense attorney can help you understand what you’re up against, build a strong defense, and get the best result if prosecutors come after you. This article gives the lowdown on the main fraud issues popping up in Omaha, possible defenses, and how a lawyer in the know can help.
The Legal Deal
Most PPP and EIDL fraud cases in Omaha fall under federal laws 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341, 1343, 1344, and 1349. These make mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit fraud illegal. Folks also often get charged under 18 U.S.C. § 287 for false claims, 18 U.S.C. § 1001 for false statements, and 18 U.S.C. § 1956 for money laundering. The penalties can be rough – big fines and years in federal prison. Prosecutors go after criminal charges even for first offenses they think were on purpose.
But with how complicated these laws are and all the chaos around PPP and EIDL during COVID, solid defenses come up a lot. A lawyer can look at whether you really broke the law based on what you actually did. For example, Congress got rid of some eligibility rules to get money out quicker. But applications still had to meet certain standards. If you filled out your forms truthfully, you may not have made any false statements. And with the confusing early guidance, you could’ve misunderstood rules without meaning to rip off the programs.
Looking at Intent
Proving intent is crucial in fraud cases. The government has to show you knowingly schemed to defraud and intentionally took part. That means showing your actions were on purpose rather than mistakes or carelessness. But with the programs being so complicated and changing so much, plenty of business owners got loans later deemed improper because of misunderstandings, not an intent to deceive.
Your lawyer can argue you acted in good faith with what you knew at the time. Evidence like talks with lenders and accountants can show you tried to use the money right and didn’t ignore the rules on purpose. While false info on an application may lead to civil liability, civil violations alone don’t necessarily prove criminal intent. Your attorney can say the government’s going too far with criminal charges for innocent mistakes without any intent to defraud.
Along with attacking intent, good Omaha lawyers often use defenses like these in PPP and EIDL fraud cases:
- You qualified for the loan amount based on what you submitted and the rules.
- Someone else filled out the application, so you didn’t make false claims.
- You misunderstood the changing rules and made mistakes in good faith.
- You used the money for allowed purposes, so no intent to defraud.
- The lender approved you, so you reasonably thought you qualified.
- You paid back any disputed amounts when issues came up.
The right defense depends on your specific situation. An experienced lawyer can dig into your case and the PPP/EIDL rules to explain which defenses give you the best shot.
A Sympathetic Stance
Many people accused of PPP or EIDL fraud acted desperately to keep their businesses alive when COVID hit, not out of greed or deception. Good Omaha defense lawyers get this and take a sympathetic approach. They work hard to humanize clients, show how confusing the programs were at first, and argue clients’ actions don’t deserve criminal charges despite civil liability.
Presenting defendants as upstanding citizens who made mistakes trying to navigate unprecedented times can be super effective. Juries often feel for business owners’ situations during COVID. Your lawyer’s arguments and evidence showing you didn’t act with criminal intent could resonate big time with jurors.
A Team Effort
Since PPP and EIDL fraud cases involve complicated money moves, experienced Omaha lawyers team up with forensic accountants, financial experts, and other pros to build the strongest defense. Your lawyer can explain how the loan money flowed through your accounts, whether the spending followed the rules, and reasons for any issues. This accounting evidence is crucial for shooting down the prosecution’s claims.
Additionally, your lawyer can bring in industry experts to explain confusion in your field about PPP and EIDL rules. That bolsters arguments you made mistakes in good faith. Omaha prosecutors often lack this industry knowledge. Presenting qualified experts to counter their assumptions and conclusions can weaken the prosecution’s case.
Getting the Best Result
With an experienced federal fraud defense lawyer in your corner, even serious PPP or EIDL fraud charges don’t necessarily mean prison time. Your lawyer will aggressively defend you while also negotiating with prosecutors to get the best possible outcome. This two-pronged approach gives you the best shot at avoiding a criminal conviction and potential jail time.
Given the complexity of these cases, prosecutors may go for deferred prosecution or pretrial diversion instead of pursuing charges and a long trial. These let you avoid pleading guilty if you meet certain conditions like paying restitution, adding compliance measures, and staying out of trouble for a set period. While requiring a lot of effort, deferred prosecution and diversion allow you to get charges dismissed without a conviction that could lead to jail time and tank your business.
An experienced lawyer may also be able to negotiate reducing charges to a misdemeanor or pleading to a single felony count rather than multiple felonies. That still has consequences but is way less damaging than a multi-count felony conviction. Or your lawyer could potentially work out probation and home confinement instead of prison if charges can’t get tossed.