Miami PPP Fraud Lawyer
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the closure of businesses across the country, and many business owners in South Florida are struggling. While many businesses in the Miami area were able to secure loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), some of those businesses are now being investigated for PPP fraud. If you are facing PPP fraud allegations, or if you have concerns about a future PPP fraud investigation, one of our experienced Miami PPP fraud lawyer can help.
Understanding PPP Loans
Why are businesses being accused of PPP fraud? To understand some of the new fraud investigations, it is critical to understand how the program was designed. PPP loans are SBA loans that were established through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, designed to help businesses remain afloat and to keep their workers employed despite the hardships created by the COVID-19 emergency. The Paycheck Protection Program closed on August 8, 2020, and it is no longer accepting applications from businesses for relief. Yet by the time the program closed, more than 4.8 million loans had been approved, totaling more than $521 billion.
Businesses in Florida and across the country received loans through the Paycheck Protection Program by certifying that they needed the loan. Borrowers receiving funds were required to certify that “current economic uncertainty makes this loan necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant.” Those seeking loans of less than $2 million were “deemed to have made the required certification concerning the necessity of the loan request in good faith,” while those receiving loans of $2 million or more could be subject to an audit to determine whether the certification was actually made in good faith.
Allegations of PPP Fraud
While PPP loans did allow many businesses to keep their doors open, and a large number of those businesses have plans to seek loan forgiveness, other businesses are being contacted about allegations of PPP fraud.
Indeed, small business owners across the country who received PPP loans have been contacted by investigators about PPP fraud, while thousands of other small business owners are concerned that they could face fraud charges. Some of the fraud allegations concern cases that seem to involve overt acts of fraud. At the same time, however, some of the fraud allegations simply allege that the businesses receiving PPP loans did not actually need the money in order to pay employees—the certification that businesses were required to make in order to receive a PPP loan. Other businesses are being investigated based on allegations that they used the PPP funds for unapproved expenses. Depending upon the particular facts surrounding an investigation, PPP fraud could result in different kinds of federal fraud charges, from bank fraud to wire fraud charges.
Ultimately, any of the following could result in a federal investigation or criminal charges for PPP fraud:
- Certifying that the loan was based on need when your business did not actually need it;
- Using PPP loan money for ineligible expenses;
- Applying for more PPP funding than your business was eligible to receive;
- Seeking PPP forgiveness when you are ineligible for forgiveness based on the terms of the PPP loan; and/or
- Providing false information during a PPP fraud investigation.
Seek Advice from a Miami White Collar Criminal Defense Attorney
Whether you are currently under investigation for PPP fraud or you have concerns about a potential investigation, our Miami PPP fraud defense attorneys can assist you. Contact Ratzan & Faccidomo LLC for more information and to get started on your defense.