Texas PPP Fraud Defense Attorney
PPP Fraud Defense
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was created under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was passed to provide urgent financial relief to American businesses impacted by the pandemic. Congress authorized over $950 billion in forgivable loans to help small businesses maintain their workforce, have access to working capital and keep operations running normally.
While these loans helped many small businesses remain open during the pandemic, the government soon discovered that a lot of money was obtained fraudulently by parties who wouldn’t otherwise qualify for a loan. Since then, it has been vigorously investigating and prosecuting allegations of PPP loan fraud, with entire sections of the Department of Justice being dedicated to these investigations.
If you applied for a PPP loan in San Antonio and the government is now alleging fraud, call the federal criminal defense team at Hunter, Lane & Jampala PLLC. We may be able to help you resolve the case without any criminal charges being filed against you. If that isn’t possible, our PPP fraud defense attorneys can deal with the prosecution on your behalf and seek the best result achievable under the circumstances.
How Can Hunter, Lane & Jampala PLLC Help Your Case?
As soon as you retain our law firm, we will gather all the necessary information, including all the evidence the government has against you, so we can review whether you have a strong defense against any allegations of fraud. Then we will reach out to the federal prosecutor or agents assigned to your case and provide them with information that can make a beneficial impact on your case.
Often, we can come to a resolution that doesn’t involve formal criminal charges. If charges have already been brought against you, our criminal defense lawyers are still prepared to aggressively negotiate and, if necessary, defend you at trial. We know what the government looks for in PPP loan fraud cases and will use this knowledge to your advantage.
Examples of PPP Loan Fraud
There are several acts and omissions that can result in PPP fraud allegations. This includes not only intentional misrepresentations but also unintentional errors that resulted in the improper receipt of federal funds. They include but may not be limited to:
- Loan Application Fraud: Companies that falsely claim eligibility on loan applications could be prosecuted. This includes misrepresenting information such as the number of employees vs. contractors and presenting inaccurate payroll costs to increase the loan amount.
- Loan Stacking: Loan stacking occurs when an applicant receives PPP loans from multiple lenders. Companies that receive funds from more than one lender may face PPP fraud investigations since the federal government can track the distribution of all funds from the Paycheck Protection Program.
- Fraudulent Loan Certification: PPP loan applicants had to certify various facts, such as the accuracy of all business documents provided and the intention to use the money for business purposes such as payroll. Knowingly certifying an inaccurate statement can lead to fraud charges.
- Using Funds for Ineligible Purposes: Companies receiving federal funds through the PPP are restricted to using those funds for specific purposes, namely payroll, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities. Any other use of PPP funds is unlawful and could result in fraud allegations.
- Concealing or Misrepresenting Information During Audit: Companies that receive PPP loan funds are likely to face audits and investigations. If your company is audited or investigated, you need to be extremely careful not to reveal potentially harmful information, but you should also avoid misrepresenting facts or concealing pertinent information. Material misrepresentations, however slight, may result in additional charges such as making false statements to a federal agent.
Charges Resulting From PPP Loan Fraud
There is no specific charge called PPP loan fraud. Instead, you may face one or more of the following charges, which are related to obtaining a loan under fraudulent circumstances.
- Making a False Statement: False statements are provided in the application process or by providing false financial information to obtain a PPP loan. This offense is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison under 18 U.S.C. § 1001.
- Bank Fraud: Bank fraud occurs when someone deceives a lending institution to obtain money or property. If convicted, you could spend up to 30 years in federal prison and be fined up to $1,000,000, as well as repayment of the funds under 18 U.S.C. § 1344.
- Wire Fraud: Wire fraud is an act of fraud involving electronic communication, such as a phone or computer. It carries a maximum punishment of 30 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000 under 18 U.S.C. § 1343.
PPP Loan Fraud Penalty Overview
The penalties for federal crimes associated with PPP loan fraud are harsh and may be punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine. If you are convicted, your sentence may be partly based on the nominal value of the alleged fraud, how many people were affected, and your prior criminal record. Collateral consequences may include:
- Asset seizure
- Suspension or loss of your professional license
- Losing the right to vote
- Prohibition on possessing or owning a firearm
- Negative immigration consequences if you are not a U.S. citizen
A criminal record can follow you for life, impacting your access to housing, public benefits, and certain types of employment. With your entire future hanging in the balance, you should face PPP fraud charges with help from an experienced San Antonio defense lawyer.
When Should You Contact a PPP Fraud Defense Lawyer?
If you or your company is targeted in a PPP loan fraud audit or investigation, you should engage an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. Federal charges are extremely serious and involve penalties that are harsher than their state counterparts. You want to hire a lawyer who understands the federal criminal justice system and knows how to navigate it to protect the best interests of their clients.
At Hunter, Lane & Jampala PLLC, we actively represent clients in a wide range of white-collar offenses, including PPP fraud. We will actively explore defense options like those below:
- No Fraudulent Intent: In order to commit PPP loan fraud, you must have intended to use trickery, fraud, or deception to obtain federal funds. As a result, acts of negligence, carelessness, or accidents may be considered defenses.
- Illegal Search: We will investigate whether federal agents violated your Fourth Amendment rights by searching your property without a warrant and illegally obtaining evidence.
- Correct Disclosure: Since PPP loans became available, lending institutions have been swamped with financial records and documents. In light of this, if you disclosed what you intended to do with the funds, you did not commit fraud since the bank ultimately funded you.
If you have been arrested for PPP fraud or believe you are under investigation, don’t delay calling us. The sooner we can start on your defense, the better your chances of a good outcome.
Facing PPP Loan Criminal Charges? Contact a San Antonio Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you are the target of a federal PPP loan fraud investigation, you’re going to be worried about your future. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has the power and resources to pursue the case against you, but the federal defense lawyers at Hunter, Lane & Jampala PLLC have frequently dealt with this agency and know how to present a strong defense against PPP fraud charges. We represent clients in the U.S. District Courts all over Texas, so to get your defense started, call (866) 358-2235 today for a free consultation or contact us online.