You should use extreme caution if a federal agent or other authority contacts you over a PPP loan. In a number of recent cases, those who chose to speak with investigators without a lawyer ultimately found themselves facing charges of PPP loan fraud as well as obstruction or making a false statement to the agents. Before speaking with a federal agent about their loan application or business, or before agreeing to turn over any documents or business data to the government, we suggest our customers to get in touch with us first.
Several people whose bank accounts were frozen or taken by the authorities as part of an investigation into PPP loan fraud have been in touch with us. If this occurs to you, don’t become alarmed. Even though a bank account has been frozen, criminal charges may not necessarily follow. But if you wish to challenge the seizure or defend yourself against criminal charges, you must act right away in response to this action. Being proactive is preferred in our opinion. Don’t just ignore the issue and hope it goes away. The fact that money has been frozen is a very strong hint that there might be a criminal investigation going on.
In a PPP loan fraud investigation, being proactive can help you avoid being charged with a crime. Federal grand juries are already constrained due to widespread coronavirus prohibitions, despite the fact that numerous criminal trials are already ongoing. As a result, a skilled federal defence attorney may be able to guide the case away from federal criminal charges and toward a civil resolution, such as paying back the money and a fine.
If you are worried about being accused of PPP fraud, you should definitely consider contacting a qualified federal defence lawyer and following some prudent precautions to safeguard your person and your company:
Legit Ppp Detective How trustworthy is PPP?
Make a digital copy of all of your financial documents, both personal and business-related. You will require these to support your defence and serve as documentation for your loan request.
Keep all business records, especially those that were used to create your loan application or certifications, and never throw them away, shred them, or otherwise destroy them. In addition to the possibility that you could require these records later, destroying any crucial records ahead of a PPP loan fraud investigation may result in a second criminal penalty.
Tell every employee that they can come to management with any suspicions of PPP fraud without worrying about being punished. They might choose to go directly to the government or a whistleblower attorney if they feel they can’t talk to you. Even if there was no breach of the PPP regulations, that might launch a costly to defend probe.
Investigations into PPP Loan Fraud: Recent Developments
The Department of Justice appears to be dedicating a significant amount of time and money to PPP loan fraud investigations, based on recent PPP loan fraud charges. In a study, the SBA Office of Inspector General raises “serious concerns” about possible fraud in the organization’s disaster loan programme for coronavirus relief.
The Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (SIGPR) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Virginia have initiated a collaborative initiative to target businesses and people who apply for PPP loans while PPP loan fraud charges are being pursued across the nation. Since our firm has handled a number of criminal and civil matters in the Eastern District of Virginia, we anticipate seeing a lot more prosecutions there.
At a press briefing, the acting assistant attorney general discusses recent DOJ prosecutions of PPP criminal fraud cases. The Fraud Section of the Criminal Division will take the initiative and oversee nationwide coordination. Given that the government is attempting to cast a wide net, this points to aggressive enforcement and the possibility of flimsy charges.
The Justice Department announces charges for PPP fraud against 57 individuals, totaling $175 million in alleged fraud. The Department makes the sweeping assertion that “criminal rings” are behind this fraud without offering any supporting evidence.