Success by any means necessary is a mantra for many business owners. When you pour so much passion, sacrifice and dedication into your business, it’s understandable to want to take advantage of every possible regulatory loophole or tax advantage. This is especially true when the economy is taking a huge hit due to national and global upheaval.
There is a vast difference, however, between benefitting from poorly written legislation and the outright defrauding of the federal government. Intentional abuse of government funds can bring disastrous repercussions to your door, as one recent case shows.
Why attempting to defraud the federal government is not worth it
According to the case findings, the defendant submitted more than 20 fraudulent PPP loan applications between April 2020 and March 2021 to 13 lenders on behalf of nine purported businesses that he controlled. The amount of these loans totaled approximately $6.8 million.
As a result of his actions, he is charged with one count of wire fraud and one of money laundering. These charges carry a combined potential penalty of 30 years in prison, and each charge carries its own fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the gross gain to the defendant or twice the gross loss to the victim.
Business owners who have not intentionally sought to defraud the government may also come under scrutiny due to errors with the automated audit tools used to scan for potential fraud. The Department of Justice Criminal Fraud Section is particularly seeking companies who have:
- Received multiple loans totaling in excess of $2 million
- Are not sanctioned to do business with the U.S. government
- Have a history of performance issues
If you believe that you are under investigation for governmental loan fraud, you will want to work swiftly to ensure your information is up-to-date, accurate and aligned with the law. Protecting yourself and your business with a strong defense can help eliminate or mitigate the consequences.