In one of the latest and most elaborate examples of pandemic-related fraud schemes, a California man faces multiple federal charges over allegations that he defrauded the PPP and EIDL loan programs to the tune of about $3.6 million.
According to a press release from the Department of Justice, a federal grand jury indicted the San Jose, CA-based defendant for submitting at least 27 fake PPP loan applications and seven emergency EIDL loan applications under different business and personal names. The alleged scheme was quite elaborate, involving fake tax forms, falsified employee information, inflated payroll numbers, and numerous other falsified documents. The indictment also purports that the defendant used the money to buy cryptocurrency, invest in personal investment accounts, and even buy a $100,000 Tesla. The total amount of fraudulent claims exceeded $8 million, of which the defendant received approximately $3.6 million in loans and netted approximately $2 million.
Arrested in July 2021, the man now faces six counts of wire fraud and three counts of bank fraud. If convicted on all counts, he faces a maximum of 20 years per count of wire fraud and 30 years per count of bank fraud—effectively, life in prison.
Crackdown on Fraudulent Pandemic Relief Claims
The arrest of this defendant represents one of many efforts by the newly formed COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to recover millions of dollars in fraudulent pandemic relief loans and unemployment applications. Established in May 2021 by the Attorney General, the Fraud Enforcement Task Force enables the Justice Department to collaborate with other government agencies at the local and state levels to combat pandemic-related fraud. While these enhanced efforts are designed to recover millions of taxpayer dollars and prevent further losses, the unintended consequences could be that innocent citizens could occasionally be flagged on suspicion of fraudulent PPP, EIDL, or EDD applications.
If you are facing federal wire fraud or bank fraud charges of any kind, including pandemic-related, you need a criminal defense attorney with federal court experience to ensure your rights are protected. The attorneys of the Sigal Law Group are highly skilled in defending against charges of fraud. Take steps now to protect your future. Call us today at (818) 325-0570 for a free consultation.