Ways to Protect Yourself from Accusations of PPP Loan Fraud

Businesses across the U.S. are being audited after receiving loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Despite not doing anything wrong, your business may be questioned or investigated. Any business that submitted a PPP application and/or received a PPP loan should be aware of the program’s requirements and the various circumstances that may raise a red flag in the eyes of a federal investigator.

If your company is being audited or investigated for PPP load fraud, it’s important that you contact a PPP loan fraud defense attorney in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm as soon as possible. If you are considering filing for a PPP loan, there are a few key things to do to safeguard your business from negative accusations.

What Is a PPP Loan?

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was passed by Congress as part of the Coronavirus Aids, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March 2020 and was renewed in December 2020. The program was designed to provide forgivable loans to small businesses during this period of economic uncertainty that could be used to cover payroll costs, mortgage, interest, rent, and utility costs over the period the loan was made. 

Unfortunately, the program has experienced an overwhelming number of applications and, with the combination of rapidly evolving regulatory requirements and loopholes, many business owners who received PPP loans are now at risk of federal investigation and severe criminal penalties over allegations of PPP loan fraud.

Simple Steps To Protect Your Business

Although it may seem like a trap to audit and investigate your business, there are still ways to obtain a PPP loan while safeguarding your business. These steps include the following:

  • Provide correct information to the best of your ability on your application.
  • Maintain and save copies of all supporting documentation issued in the loan application.
  • 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.
  • Do not apply for PPP loans from multiple lenders.
  • Ensure that the PPP loan money is only used for interest, rent payments, utility costs, insurance premiums, and payroll expenses. Do not use the funds for any other reason.

What to Do If Accused of PPP Loan Fraud

Although PPP loan fraud investigations are on the rise across America, there is no regulation or statute specifically prohibiting PPP fraud. Instead, the laws surrounding PPP loans fall under three major categories:

  • Fraudulent Use of PPP Funding
  • Loan Certification Fraud
  • Application Fraud

If you or your company is targeted in a PPP loan fraud audit or investigation for any reason, even if not listed above, the most important thing you can do is to hire a PPP loan fraud law firm in Tampa like 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 these funds under the supervision of a PPP loan fraud defense attorney in Tampa will prove crucial in defending your case.

For a free consultation with a PPP loan fraud defense attorney in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today.

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.

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