When the government finds evidence of fraud, federal agents begin an investigation. After securing sufficient evidence, the alleged participants in the schemes might be charged in an indictment with fraud. Federal changes might include conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud, or aggravated identity theft.
Many of these fraud cases involved the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, the EIDL Emergency Advances, and other COVID-19 relief programs guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA).
Other forms of disaster relief include the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Enacted on March 29, 2020, the CARES Act is a federal law designed to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans suffering from the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act authorized funding for the EIDL program that provided economic relief to small businesses experiencing a temporary loss of revenue.
Under the requirements of the program, the proceeds of the EIDL loan must be used to cover working capital and normal operating expenses including fixed debt payments, utilities, rent, and health care benefits.
The most common forms of fraud in the EIDL program include submitting fraudulent loan applications, using fake, stolen, or synthetic identities, using fake or fictitious businesses, or using fictitious documents. The fake and fictitious documents might include fake identity documents, tax documents, and payroll records.
Other charges include using SBA and federally-insured financial institutions approved the fraudulent EIDL and PPP loans for purposes expressly prohibited under the PPP and EIDL program.
Attorney for EIDL Fraud in Tampa, FL
Business owners might learn about the criminal investigation after receiving a visit from a federal agent with a search warrant. The government might seize business capital or funds from bank accounts.
The investigation might involve a subpoena or government order that requires the business owner to gather certain documents. An attorney can help you gather the required information and respond appropriately.
If you are under investigation for PPP or EIDL fraud, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. We understand the ways EIDL fraud crimes are investigated by the FBI, IRS – Criminal Investigation, and SBA – Office of Inspector General. Cases are prosecuted by attorneys in the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys.
If you are under investigation for attempted fraud involving the EIDL program, PPP, or other types of COVID-19 related relief, then contact us.
SBA Report on EIDL Fraud During COVID-19 – In REPORT 20-16, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) Inspector General Hannibal “Mike” Ware issued a report dated July 28, 2020, concerning serious problems with fraud in the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Advance grant (EIDL) program. During the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and health crisis, suspected fraud in the EIDL program lead to complaints to the hotline and from contacts in the investigative field offices and financial institutions. By July of 2020, nine financial institutions reported more than 185 million in suspected fraudulent transactions, scams, duplicate payments, and payments to ineligible recipients.
PPP and EIDL Disaster Complaint Form – For suspected cases of PPP fraud and EIDL fraud, the public is asked to report complaints to the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 1-866-720-5721, the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721, or by filling out the Web Complaint Form.
Hotline Complaint with SBA Office of Inspector General – To report misconduct, mismanagement, abuse, fraud, or waste involving SBA programs or employees, the SBA Office of Inspector General set up a hotline. Visit the website to learn more about submitting a complaint, the next steps after submitting a complaint, and whistleblower protection. OIG will no longer accept complaints submitted by email.
Attorney for PPP Fraud Investigations – Federal criminal defense attorneys represent clients during investigations into PPP fraud. The PPP funds were intended for small businesses that needed additional funding for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.
This article was last updated on Wednesday, December 23, 2020.