The Coronavirus pandemic significantly impacted small businesses worldwide, where many suffered substantial economic losses and were forced to shut down eventually.
To help the situation, the United States government developed the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). It was established under the CARES Act to provide small businesses with loans that were meant to be used for paying:
- Salary to employees
- Payroll costs
- Interest on mortgages
- Operational costs and rent
- Utility bills
The Misuse Of PPP Loan
In the initial days, there was widespread confusion about the program’s requirements and how to apply for a loan. As a result, many businesses submitted PPP loan applications without understanding the rules and eligibility criteria.
Not just this, as the program continued, many people saw this as an opportunity and lied about PPP applications or misused the allotted funds. Due to this, the US government started monitoring the process carefully, and many fraudulent cases were reported.
What Is A PPP Fraud?
The most common type of PPP fraud consists of one of the following:
- When businesses apply for loans, even when they are not eligible
- When they use the loan proceeds for ineligible expenses
- When business activities are misrepresented to meet the program’s requirements
Are You Accused Of PPP Fraud?
If you have been accused of PPP fraud, it is important to contact an experienced PPP loan fraud defense attorney as soon as possible. The consequences of a PPP fraud conviction can be significant, including prison time of up to 30 years and huge penalties. An attorney will have the experience and knowledge necessary to deal with the issues.
What To Do After You’ve Been Charged With A PPP Fraud Case?
Hire a PPP Loan Fraud Defense Lawyer
If you are being investigated for possible PPP fraud, it is crucial that you secure legal counsel as soon as possible. An experienced federal criminal defense attorney can help protect your rights, freedom, and reputation.
Role of a skilled PPP Fraud Attorney
When you receive a subpoena or a criminal complaint, it can be challenging to think about the next step clearly. However, a skilled attorney can make this process simple by explaining to you the steps you need to take immediately.
If your company is under investigation for PPP Fraud, the defense lawyers will help you conduct an internal audit or investigation immediately. This will help you find any evidence of fraud, such as misleading information, unauthorized use of loan funds, misrepresented facts on loan forgiveness applications, etc.
Several federal agencies are in charge of identifying and investigating allegations of PPP fraud which include:
- U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Your PPP loan defense lawyer will examine your case carefully to know about the agencies that are handling your investigation. Next, your defense lawyer will formulate a strategy to get you through the investigation process with a favorable outcome.
PPP fraud is considered a white-collar crime, and the consequences can devastate the business and the people involved. Your case might proceed to trial if you’ve been charged with criminal charges. A knowledgeable defense litigation attorney has the proper understanding and will prepare your case for a trial in court.
Hiring A PPP Loan Fraud Attorney
The Department of Justice is aggressively investigating PPP fraud and prosecuting those suspected of defrauding the program. You can’t deal with the federal investigative and prosecutorial processes on your own.
The legal understanding is complicated, and your future is at stake, which is why it’s always a good idea to follow the process and take the help of a legal counsel. Resolve the matter before charges are filed with the help of a skilled PPP loan defense firm such as Azhari LLC. Make the right move before you lose big.