With our nation’s small businesses bearing the brunt of the unprecedented economic disruption brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act into law to provide emergency relief resources for small businesses and American workers. The Paycheck Protection Program, or a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their employees on payroll, was included in this act. Despite its size, the program ran out of funds in a matter of minutes as applications flooded in. As expected, due to the nature of the PPP and the rate at which its funds were disrupted, the companies which received PPP funding are now left facing heavy scrutiny from federal authorities.
If you believe you are under investigation or may soon be under investigation for PPP loan fraud, it’s absolutely pertinent that you reach out to a PPP loan fraud defense lawyer in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm so that you may mitigate the possible civil and criminal charges. You don’t want to run the risk of losing your business because you failed to contact an attorney regarding legal defense against a PPP loan fraud audit or investigation.
There are a number of charges you may face following being accused of defrauding the PPP, including but not limited to:
It goes without saying that these are very serious offenses. Knowingly making a false statement to obtain a guaranteed loan from SBA alone is punishable by a maximum five years imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine under 18 U.S.C. §1001 and 18 U.S.C. §3571 (making false statements), two years imprisonment and/or a $5,000 fine under 15 U.S.C. §645 (making false statements to SBA), and 30 years imprisonment and/or a $1,000,000 fine, if submitted to a federally insured institution. If that alone wasn’t enough to convince you of the severity of these charges, making false statements in a PPP application may also subject you to up to 30 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine for bank fraud under 18 U.S.C. §1344, among other things.
A person accused of PPP loan fraud may face some or all of the charges described above, depending on the specific accusations; however, the consequences of a PPP fraud conviction are always serious. In addition to fines and imprisonment, federal felony convictions will also appear on background checks and result in the loss of some of your rights. This is why you need the highly experienced legal counsel of the PPP loan fraud defense lawyers in Tampa.
If you or your company is targeted in a PPP loan fraud audit or investigation, the most important thing you can do is to hire the PPP loan fraud defense lawyers in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm. We handle and represent clients caught in COVID-19 pandemic-related legal issues on a daily basis, and will act quickly to protect your interests and fight potential charges. The burden of proof rests on the federal government to demonstrate that you were acting in bad faith when applying for PPP loans, completing forgiveness certification, or using the PPP loan funding. Maintaining a thorough trail of your application process and spending of these funds with the help of a PPP loan fraud defense lawyer will prove crucial in defending your case. There’s no better way to prove that you were acting in good faith than to keep an ongoing record that you were attempting to diligently follow program requirements.
For a free consultation with an experienced PPP loan fraud defense lawyer in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm at (813) 999-0502 or submit our contact request form.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.