12 Sep 23

Riverside PPP – SBA – EIDL Loan Fraud Lawyers

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Last Updated on: 14th September 2023, 12:27 am

The COVID-19 pandemic brought much needed financial relief to small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. But it also opened the door for fraudsters trying to take advantage of the rushed loan programs. Many business owners in Riverside and nationwide are now facing accusations of PPP or EIDL fraud. If this happens to you, working with an experienced legal team is critical to protect your rights and avoid criminal charges.

Understanding PPP and EIDL Fraud

When the pandemic hit in 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) had to quickly roll out the PPP and EIDL programs to help struggling companies. More than $800 billion was loaned out through these programs in just a couple years.

To speed things up, the SBA reduced its normal fraud checks and made it easy for applicants to self-certify their eligibility. This lack of verification made it tempting for scammers to apply for loans by exaggerating their payroll, employees, or revenue losses.

Some common types of PPP and EIDL fraud include:

  • Using stolen identities or fake businesses
  • Claiming more employees than the business really had
  • Lying about revenue losses from COVID-19
  • Using PPP funds for personal purchases instead of payroll
  • Applying for multiple EIDL loans for the same business

The SBA Inspector General estimates that over $200 billion may have been fraudulently obtained through these programs. They are now investigating hundreds of thousands of suspicious applications.

Riverside PPP and EIDL Investigations

In Riverside specifically, federal prosecutors have been filing charges against multiple individuals and groups accused of PPP or EIDL fraud over the past couple years. Some examples include:

  • A Corona man who got over $500,000 in PPP loans using fake employee names like “Patty O’Furniture” and “Mike Rotch.”
  • Two brothers in Riverside who submitted 18 fraudulent PPP and EIDL loan applications worth over $1.1 million.
  • A San Jacinto pastor accused of getting $300,000 in PPP loans and using the money to buy himself a Bentley.

These are just a few examples of the COVID relief fraud cases being pursued in the Riverside area. State and federal investigators are aggressively going after individuals and groups they suspect of exploiting these emergency loan programs.

What To Do If You’re Under Investigation

If your business receives a subpoena, audit letter, or visit from SBA investigators about potential PPP or EIDL fraud, take it very seriously. Here are some tips on how to respond:

  • Be cooperative but avoid volunteering too much information before talking to a lawyer.
  • Begin gathering documentation on your loan applications and use of funds.
  • Consult an experienced white collar criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
  • Have your lawyer communicate with investigators on your behalf going forward.
  • Follow your lawyer’s advice about whether to participate in interviews with investigators.

It’s important not to panic or overreact, but also not to ignore inquiry letters or subpoenas. An experienced financial fraud lawyer can advise you on how to respond to avoid making your situation worse.

Riverside White Collar Criminal Defense Lawyers

If your business or one of your employees is being investigated for potential PPP or EIDL fraud, it’s important to consult an experienced white collar criminal defense attorney right away. At our law firm, we represent individuals and companies accused of SBA loan fraud across Riverside and Southern California.

Our legal team can help with tasks like:

  • Negotiating with investigators to avoid charges when possible
  • Contesting subpoenas or contesting evidence improperly obtained
  • Presenting defenses to demonstrate your innocence
  • Navigating plea agreements and sentencing guidelines if charges are filed

We understand these complex financial fraud cases and the wide-ranging penalties defendants face. Our goal is to resolve your case as favorably as possible, protecting your freedom, finances, and reputation.

Don’t wait to seek experienced legal counsel if you receive notice of a PPP or EIDL fraud investigation. Call our Riverside white collar criminal defense lawyers today for a free consultation.