Most PPP Fraud Cases Result in Guilty Pleas Due to Paper Trails, a Florida Criminal Lawyer Explains
Posted on April 05, 2021 8:00 AM EST
As PPP loans continue to roll out, so do prosecutions by the federal government for mail and wire fraud. While the first case occurred in May of last year, dozens have followed since, and new cases of fraud will continue to be prosecuted into the foreseeable future. Anyone indicted for PPP fraud should seek the assistance of the Florida criminal defense lawyers at DMT, all of whom have years of experience in federal court.
This year, the feds charged a Florida man who fraudulently obtained and used $3.9 million in money allocated for federal assistance to small businesses. The defendant allegedly used some of the proceeds to purchase a $318,000 sports car. He entered a guilty plea to filing a false application for forgivable loans guaranteed by the Small Business Association through the CARES Act, these cases are thoroughly investigated, and most result in guilty pleas as a paper trail always exists. This defendant entered a guilty plea to one count of wire fraud and is awaiting sentencing.
Our team of experienced Florida criminal defense lawyers has seen an increasing number of these cases lately; cases that arise from individuals who submit fraudulent applications claiming to be legitimate owners of businesses trying to meet their payroll expenses when in reality, defendants own businesses with no employees, or they create businesses with no intent to actually run and operate a business. The federal government is making examples of all defendants who are charged with PPP fraud. The potential sentences these defendants face are similar to all federal sentences where money and fraud are concerned. While wire fraud is only the base level offense, the real factor in determining the guidelines stems from the amount of money taken from the federal government. Obviously, the larger the amount, the longer the potential sentence.
Judges and prosecutors will not find much sympathy in these cases as the CARES Act, and the PPP loans were designed to provide emergency relief to millions of American business owners and their employees as the Covid-19 virus has stifled the economy. The cases are investigated by the Small Business Association (SBA)
, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
, and other branches of the Federal Reserve System. Special fraud units in the Department of Justice
are assigned to prosecute these cases, which are assigned to the most experienced prosecutors. Since the PPP loans have been distributed, there have been over 100 individuals prosecuted in more than 70 cases. Anyone convicted in this type of case can be subjected to a forfeiture proceeding as well, where the government will attempt to retrieve any of the ill-gotten gains such as real estate and luxury items.
If you have been charged with PPP fraud it is imperative that you contact DMT as soon as possible to retain representation from one of our top-notch Florida criminal defense lawyers. Knowledge and experience in these cases are vital, but nothing will make more difference than timing, which is why we cannot stress enough the importance of calling a lawyer the moment you have been charged. Are you facing PPP fraud charges? Give us a call at (305) 444-0030
for a free consultation. We are available 24/7 to provide the defense you need to fight your charges.