PPP Loan Fraud Investigation Lawyers
PPP loan fraud investigations are nationwide. Federal prosecutors from federal agencies across the country are looking for possible PPP loan fraud and other violations of the CARES Act in order to recover money which was fraudulently obtained via Coronavirus relief programs meant to help the economy.
What’s PPP loan fraud?
PPP loan is when an individual, or business, is submitting false information in order to get a loan under the federal paycheck protection program. The PPP was made to help businesses stay alive during the pandemic by giving forgivable loans to cover operating expenses. Businesses that apply for PPP loan via commercial banks have to meet many different eligibility requirements.
Even after a business gets a PPP loan, it has to abide by certain requirements.
What will happen during a PPP loan fraud investigation?
The focus of PPP loan fraud is to determine whether charges can be brought against someone for violating one, or more, guidelines of the PPP loan program. Federal prosecutors have been targeting businesses and individuals who violated PPP for a number of reasons:
- False statements on PPP application
- Applying for PPP loans from many lenders
- Using PPP money for improper purposes
- Submitting a false certification for loan forgiveness
- Not being truthful to agents during a loan audit, or investigation
People who are charged with PPP loan fraud can face serious criminal/civil penalties. There are many possible criminal laws that may be involved in alleged PPP loan fraud.
What happens during PPP loan fraud investigations?
PPP loan fraud investigations determine whether charges should be brought against someone for violating PPP program guidelines. Generally, prosecutors have been targeting businesses/individuals who are violating the PPP loan program. Below are examples of laws that might be involved in a PPP loan fraud case, the most common charges are:
- Wire fraud
- Bank fraud
- False statements to a financial institution
- Conspiracy to commit fraud
How should I respond to a PPP loan fraud investigation allegation?
If you’ve been contacted by federal agents, or someone else, about PPP loan fraud, you have to be careful. There are many cases where someone decided to speak to an investigator without a lawyer, and was then charged with obstruction, or making false statements to agents. We recommend clients reach out to us first before they discuss their loan application with a federal agent. It’s not a good idea to speak to investigators because you could be charged with making a false statement in addition to PPP loan fraud.
It’s not uncommon for people to have their bank accounts frozen, or seized, as a part of PPP loan fraud investigations. If this happens, don’t panic. Just because your bank account was seized doesn’t mean there are criminal charges. But the fact is, you may want to take steps to protect yourself from criminal charges. We believe it’s smart to be proactive. Don’t ignore the problem. The fact that funds have been frozen is a strong indication that a criminal investigation is presently underway.
It’s critical that in a PPP loan fraud investigation that you be proactive. Federal grand juries are currently limited due to coronavirus restrictions. It means if you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney, you can take steps to steer the case to a civil disposition – like paying back the money, and a fine, instead of a federal criminal charge. If you’re worried about PPP fraud charges, you should hire a federal criminal defense attorney and take some steps to protect you, and your business.
- Gather all business and personal records and make a copy of them. You will need these to support your defense.
- Don’t throw away, or shred, any business records. You may need these documents later. Destroying any important documentation can lead to separate criminal charges.
- Let your employees know that they can report suspicions about PPP fraud without fear of retaliation.
There have been many recent PPP loan fraud prosecutions. This means the DOJ is definitely devoting time and resources to fight PPP loan fraud allegations. The SBA Office of Inspector General has issued reports citing major concerns. PPP loan fraud prosecutions are being brought across the country.
Our federal attorneys are looking at PPP loan fraud cases and developments. If you are accused of PPP loan fraud, consider speaking to our attorneys.