Los Angeles PPP and EIDL Loan Fraud Lawyers
Defending Against DOJ Investigations for PPP Loan Fraud: Understanding Consequences and Defenses
The COVID-19 pandemic brought the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to help individuals and companies impacted by the pandemic, but it also opened up avenues for fraud. Unfortunately, the program became an easy target for fraudsters, leading the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to launch investigations to uncover cases of PPP loan fraud. If an individual or company is under a DOJ investigation for PPP loan fraud, it’s crucial to fathom the potential penalties and defenses available.
The Severity of Federal PPP Loan Fraud Investigations
PPP loan fraud led to significant losses, and the DOJ is aggressively targeting anyone suspected of PPP loan fraud. The agency has initiated various investigations and filed multiple lawsuits against businesses and individuals suspected of PPP loan fraud. The DOJ has publicly stated that fraudulent activities against the program will face aggressive pursuit and could result in federal charges.
Numerous Federal Agencies Investigate PPP Loan Fraud
The DOJ isn’t working alone to target PPP loan fraud. The agency collaborates with other federal agencies to investigate and prosecute individuals and businesses that fraudulently obtained forgivable loans under the PPP. Federal agencies involved include; the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General (SBA-OIG), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General (FDIC-OIG), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI).
Potential Federal PPP Loan Fraud Charges
PPP loan fraud is a severe offense, and repayment of the loan doesn’t guarantee one’s freedom from charges. PPP loans are covered under other pre-existing federal statutes, including but not limited to; Making False Statements to the Small Business Administration (SBA) (18 U.S.C. ¬ß 1014), Making False Statements to an FDIC-Insured Bank (18 U.S.C. ¬ß 1014), Bank Fraud (18 U.S.C. ¬ß 1344), Wire Fraud (18 U.S.C. ¬ß 1343), Aggravated Identity Theft (18 U.S.C. ¬ß 1028A), Tax Evasion (26 U.S.C. ¬ß 7201), Making False Statements to Federal Agents (18 U.S.C. ¬ß 1001), Conspiracy (18 U.S.C. ¬ß 371 and 18 U.S.C. ¬ß 1349), Attempt (18 U.S.C. ¬ß 1349), and False Claims Act (31 U.S.C. ¬ß¬ß 3729 ‚Äì 3733).
Defenses Against PPP Loan Fraud Accusations
Individuals and businesses accused of PPP loans fraud by DOJ can use several defense strategies. The most common options for defense are:
PPP Compliance: Individuals and businesses can defend themselves by presenting documentation that shows PPP loan compliance. This can lead to a quick resolution of the case. However, sharing information voluntarily with the DOJ has to be done cautiously, as this could hurt rather than help the accused.
Lack of Intent to Defraud: Federal law requires intent to defraud to establish criminal culpability. If individuals or businesses received a PPP loan inadvertently, submitted a fraudulent forgiveness certification, or made improper use of the funds without malicious intent, they have a valid defense against the case. However, civil penalties can still be pursued, and they could be severe.
Professional Legal Assistance: The DOJ has vast resources, and fighting allegations of PPP loan fraud alone is bound for failure. Therefore, individuals and businesses facing accusations need professional legal assistance as early as possible. A reliable law firm like Todd Spodek could help by reviewing the case, highlighting weaknesses, and presenting all available defense strategies to achieve the possible outcome.
The Bottom Line
PPP loan fraud is a significant offense, and the DOJ is doing everything possible to investigate and prosecute those suspected of defrauding the program. If you or your business is accused of PPP loan fraud, you need to take the accusation seriously and seek professional legal assistance immediately. Established law firms like Todd Spodek can analyze the situation, identify weaknesses, and develop a defense strategy that will yield a favorable outcome.
CALIFORNIA CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS