On Wednesday, the Department of Justice announced two more criminal cases alleging fraud against the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
In one case out of Texas, the government alleges that a purported business owner falsely certified that he employed over 250 employees when, in fact, there were no employees. More than $10 million in forgivable loans were sought from the PPP program.
In a second case out of Georgia, a former reality TV personality was arrested after applying for more than $3 million in PPP loans. According to the government’s press release, upon execution of a search warrant, evidence was uncovered that the PPP funds had been used for impermissible expenditures. Among the alleged purchases were a Rolls-Royce Wraith, a Rolex wristwatch, and several other pieces of jewelry, as well as large sums of cash.
The PPP authorized up to $349 billion in forgivable loans, available to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic to help supplement payroll and other business needs. With such a large investment, Attorney General Barr has directed the Department of Justice to focus resources on investigating allegations of PPP fraud. Understanding PPP and complying with Treasury requirements is critical for businesses who wish to avoid government investigations.
The charges discussed above are allegations only. There has been no determination of guilt.