Over 1.6 million businesses in the U.S. applied for and received a forgivable Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA). This initiative was authorized on March 29, 2020, by Congress under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in response to the dire economic consequences that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) and other agencies are going to great lengths to investigate and prosecute individuals and companies suspected of committing fraud in the application for these loans or in the use of the loan proceeds for improper purposes. If you or your company are under investigation on suspicion of committing any type of fraud concerning the PPP or other SBA disaster loan, it is critical to retain experienced legal counsel at the earliest opportunity in order to protect you.
In addition to having been a former federal prosecutor, Dan Guthrie has more than 30 years of focused white collar defense experience. He has successfully represented numerous clients against all types of allegations. He clearly understands that these types of charges can bring professional and financial devastation and very serious criminal penalties. His highly proactive and strategic approach has paved the way for his clients to avoid indictment time and time again.
The primary law that the government is using to prosecute SBA fraud is bank fraud. Bank fraud under the PPP may be charged in connection with misrepresentation about the number of employees the business has claimed or submitting false documentation in connection with the loan. The basis of this statute is an attempt to obtain money from a financial institution, such as a bank, by means of a false, fraudulent or misleading statement.
Punishment under this statute is up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million. Even first time offenders are facing prison terms for violation of this offense.
Retaining an attorney early in an investigation regarding PPP or other SBA loan fraud can open up a number of potential beneficial opportunities that may not be available later on.