Florida Man Pleads Guilty To PPP Fraud
Theft from government programs that provide funds for disaster relief is one of the most heavily prosecuted forms of fraud there are. The federal government vigorously prosecutes these cases, and as the law is written, it makes it a much worse crime to defraud disaster relief programs than other forms of fraud. In this case, a Florida man has pleaded guilty to defrauding the federal government’s PPP program of over $4 million.
According to federal authorities, he unlawfully obtained the proceeds by submitting 21 fraudulent Payroll Protection Program loans on behalf of at least nine “purported” businesses. The defendant was accused of falsifying information to secure the loans including how many employees the purported companies had. The money was then placed in brokerage accounts where it was used to make losing trades.
The defendant pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and another count of money laundering. If convicted, he faces federal felony enhancements that could push his sentence up to 30 years.
Taking a look at the charges
Fraud charges add up quickly. In this case, the defendant pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and another count of money laundering, but each individual fraudulent application could have been charged as fraud. That would have ended up putting the defendant in a position where he was facing charges that would go well over 100 years quite quickly.
In sending 21 fraudulent applications, the defendant committed 21 counts of wire fraud. If you add up each of those with a 5-year penalty, you’re into the 100-year range and we haven’t even started adding up money laundering, forgery, and the other crimes that could have been charged.
Nonetheless, this defendant has managed to negotiate a 30-year cap on a sentence that could have gone on for hundreds of years. In a case like this, the prosecution is most interested in ensuring that the most serious charges stick.
PPP and coronavirus relief fraud
As soon as the government announced the PPP loans and other relief programs, fraudsters were trying to figure out ways to get extra money from the government. While the government disbursed the funds without asking too many questions, they have been reviewing all requests related to PPP funds and coronavirus relief money. This means they’re going back and reviewing all of the records related to requests. While many of the most egregious cases are now being prosecuted, many more that have either flown under the radar or don’t represent $4 million in losses are still being investigated. That means that the vast majority of these cases have yet to be filed.
Talk to a Tampa Federal Criminal Defense Attorney
The Matassini Law Firm handles criminal defense cases filed by the federal government. If you are facing federal charges, call our Tampa criminal lawyers today and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.