Feds Say Man Used PPP Loan to Pay for Vacation House
A 6-bed, 6-bath vacation house was purchased for the extremely low price tag of $400,000. That in of itself, however, isn’t the crime. Federal prosecutors claim that the home was purchased with a PPP loan disbursed by the federal government during the COVID pandemic. In other words, the funds for the home were acquired by fraud. Now, they are charging the individual responsible for purchasing the home with fraudulently applying for benefits that they were not entitled to.
This is one of numerous cases of PPP fraud. Essentially, the fraud works the same way in all cases. The defendant is said to have either lied about the number of employees their business employed or fabricated information related to their business in order to acquire a larger loan.
In this case, prosecutors claim that the man bilked the PPP program of $5 million and used it to buy a lucrative vacation home just outside of Walt Disney.
The PPP program
Under The CARES Act, the federal government disbursed billions of dollars in loans to small businesses that would otherwise have shut down during the pandemic to protect their payroll from the economic losses caused by the pandemic. Businesses would apply for the loans under the auspice of having such-and-such many employees and then they were required to use that money to protect their employees from potential bankruptcy. While the program worked fine in most cases, it was ripe for fraud and now several Floridians and Americans are being charged with defrauding the program by fabricating data related to their businesses.
Just recently a former Florida legislator was charged and pleaded guilty to applying for a loan under the program for a business that had not operated in years. The federal government simply did an accounting of the business and charged the legislator with fraud because the business had no employees and was not currently active.
Other charges related to this case
The defendant is further charged with having used personal information from his tax preparation business to apply for fraudulent tax returns. He was able to acquire $1.7 million from the fraudulent PPP loans, but federal authorities uncovered previous frauds that happened while his business was still running. The defendant is accused of cashing over $900,000 in fake checks, stealing information from his customers, and applying for tax returns under dummy names to bilk the government for millions.
He is accused of wire fraud, bank fraud, tax fraud, defrauding a disaster relief program, and more. If convicted, the defendant could face several decades worth of prison time with a mandatory minimum of around a decade depending on which charges he can plead out.
Talk to a Tampa, FL Fraud Defense Lawyer Today
The Matassini Law Firm represents the interests of Florida residents who have been charged with various forms of fraud. Call our Tampa criminal lawyers today to schedule an appointment and we can begin discussing your defense strategy immediately.