Oklahoma PPP and EIDL Loan Fraud Lawyers
Protecting Yourself from DOJ Investigations into PPP Loan Fraud
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a federal loan program that has been implemented to provide economic relief to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although it was designed with good intentions, some have used it as an opportunity to commit fraud. As a result of this fraudulent activity, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has conducted investigations to uncover evidence of PPP loan fraud. If your company or you are being investigated for PPP loan fraud by the DOJ, it is crucial to safeguard yourself adequately and understand the following information:
The DOJ is Aggressively Targeting PPP Loan Fraud
PPP loan fraud constitutes a massive cost, and there have been widespread reports of fraudulent activities targeting the program. As such, The DOJ is keenly targeting unscrupulous individuals and businesses that submitted bogus PPP loan applications or misappropriated funds unlawfully.
Numerous Charges Filed in PPP Loan Fraud Cases
Several PPP loan fraud cases have resulted in charges filed by the DOJ. Furthermore, various governmental bodies like the United States Small Business Administration’s Office of Inspector General (SBA-OIG), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General (FDIC-OIG), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI) are working synergistically to investigate and prosecute any acts of malfeasance related to PPP loans.
Defenses To Allegations Of PPP Loan Fraud
PPP loan fraud allegations can have significant consequences for both individuals and organizations. However, companies facing investigation can mount credible defenses, including but not limited to:
1. Compliance with All Regulations: Organizations that obtained a legitimate PPP loan must demonstrate strict adherence to all-program requirements while providing accurate documentation on their use of allotted funds.
2. Lack of Intent To Defraud: Proving lack of criminal intent regardless whether such violations were intentional or due to caregiver mistakes may create legal remedies against some criminal charges.
Potential Charges in PPP Loan Fraud Investigations
PPP loan fraud can trigger civil and criminal charges ranging from:
Making False Statements to the SBA
Under 18 U.S.C. § 1014, knowingly making false claims or submitting fraudulent reports with the purpose of achieving any action by the Small Business Administration(SBA), including PPP loan applications, borrower application forms or certifications.
Making False Statements to an FDIC-Insured Bank
Submitting false statements or reports directed towards financial institutions insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is also a federal crime under 18 U.S.C. § 1014.
An act of intending to defraud a financial institution by means of deceitful pretenses may attract criminal charges under 18 U.S.C. § 1344
Using electronic communication tools to obtain property through fraudulent means is a violation under the Federal fraud statues which includes wire fraud -18 U.S.C. § 1343.
Aggravated Identity Theft
Incorporating or possessing personal identification particulars of another person during certain offenses like bank or wire fraud constitutes aggravated identity theft -18 U.S.C. § 1028A).
Attempts to evade taxes imposed by The Internal Revenue Code, including income tax evasion, are serious offenses punishable under US law (26 U.S.C. §7201).
Making False Statements to Federal Agents
Anyone who provides fraudulent information either in writing, verbally, or via transactions/communications during official DOJ investigations contravenes national law (18 U.S.C. §1001).
Conspiracy and Attempt
Individuals charged with conspiring to defraud federal aid programs like PPP loans may be prosecuted under subsections-371 and 1349/-
False Claims Act Violations
Violators face hefty fines, penalties, treble damages and loss of eligibility for other federal programs since the DOJ lays down civil charges in scenarios involving unintentional or intentional PPP loan frauds.
How to Avoid Prosecution
PPP loans drew a fine line between keeping small businesses afloat and an opportunity to commit fraudulent activities. Federal agencies such as DOJ continue taking steps to investigate and prosecute any PPP loan fraud. However, two crucial steps could guide individuals seeking to avoid breaking the law:
1. Demonstrating genuine concern – Being transparent and providing relevant documentation on why the company qualified for a PPP loan is critical
2. Hiring Experienced Attorneys Attorneys can help provide guidelines/skills to help build defenses during investigation proceedings.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was set up as an economic relief program for small businesses facing financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic but became susceptible to fraudulent attacks. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) launched investigations into these fraudulent activities, resulting in several federal agencies working together against such instances under National Law guiding entities that defraud this program’s benefits. Companies should be highly vigilant, employing all possible safeguards against allegations of PPP loan fraud by demonstrating full compliance with regulations derived from the legislation governing the same programs during investigations concatenated by hiring professional legal representation.
NEW JERSEY CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS