COVID-19 Government Assistance and Fraud
The world felt the economic pain of COVID-19 as the pandemic forced numerous bars, restaurants and other businesses deemed non-essential to close their doors, some of them permanently.
In addition to temporarily increasing the amount of money qualified people can get from their state’s unemployment, some individuals were able to receive more federal funds through the Paycheck Protection Program and other U.S. Small Business Administration funds. Unfortunately, not everyone who received these funds may have not done so under truthful making accurate representations and this could lead to charges. If you are accused of defrauding a state government or the SBA, you may face criminal charges.
The nationally recognized attorneys at Goldstein & Orr in San Antonio, TX, have defended clients in state and federal court on various criminal charges.
COVID-19 Fraud Criminal Defense Lawyers in San Antonio, TX
Given how fast things changed when the coronavirus struck America and the rest of the world, it’s understandable that there may have been a miscommunication when it came to securing funds to pay your bills. It’s a scary prospect to be suddenly laid off without much knowledge of how you’re going to pay the rent or buy groceries. Applying for government assistance is a natural response and was encouraged by politicians for those who lost their jobs.
It is possible that paperwork may have gotten mixed up at the federal level or that the SBA may falsely accuse you of fraud. You may have accidentally received stimulus money that the government now wants you to repay and it may blame you for its mistake. No matter the cause, you will need the expertise of attorneys experienced in defending clients from state and federal fraud charges. The moment you discover you are being investigated for possible COVID-19 government assistance fraud, you should contact Goldstein & Orr to protect your rights and reputation.
At Goldstein & Orr, each of our attorneys have the skill and history of fighting to protect our clients in investigations and prosecutions at the state and federal level. From negations that take place early in the investigation to the filing of criminal charges to the jury trial, our attorneys have successfully represented clients at each stage of the federal criminal case.
Call (210)226-1463 for a free consultation.
Information on COVID-19 Fraud
- Assistance Programs From the SBA
- Types of Fraud Charges
- Potential Punishments for COVID-19 Fraud
- Additional Resources
Assistance Programs From the SBA
The SBA had a few different programs that business owners and laid off people could receive government assistance through. Below are a few of the programs people have used through the SBA for monetary assistance.
The Paycheck Protection Program: Also known as the PPP, the Paycheck Protection Program is a loan that provides a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA forgives loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. Any small business that meets SBA’s size standards, any 50( c )(3) non-profit organization, 501 ( c )(19) veterans’ organizations, or Tribal business concern can apply for the loan so long as they meet the SBA industry size standard of more than 500 employees. Self-employed people, independent contractors and any business with a NAICS Code that begins with 72 (accommodations and Food Services) that has more than one physical location and employs less than 500 per location.
The loan will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent and utilities. Loan payments may also be deferred for six months.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance: This loan advance provides up to $10,000 of economic relief to businesses that are experiencing loss of revenue during the coronavirus pandemic. This loan advance does not have to be repaid. Agricultural businesses that are involved in the production of food, ranching, raising livestock, aquaculture, and all other farming and agriculture related industries as defined by the Small Business Act. All agricultural businesses with 500 or fewer employees are encouraged by the SBA to apply for the loan.
SBA Express Bridge Loans: This loan allows small business who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly. These loans are designed to support small businesses that are experiencing a temporary loss of revenue and can be used to bridge the gap while applying for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan. The loan will be repaid in full or in part by proceeds for the EIDL loan.
Potential Punishments for COVID-19 Fraud
Being convicted of defrauding the SBA for COVID-19 loans can have long-lasting consequences on your life, family and business. Some people may commit fraud by lying about the amount of employees they have or even lying that they have a business. In Tulsa, a man is accused of providing fraudulent payroll documents and representing a limited liability partnership.
As coronavirus relief is fairly new, there is no set precedent for punishment on what specific charges you may receive or what your punishment will entail. You could potentially be charged with bank fraud, wire fraud, making false statements to a federal entity, and making false statements to a financial institution.
Even if you are not convicted of fraud, you may have unfavorable outcomes in the future when it comes to securing a small business loan or other forms of government assistance. Having Goldstein & Orr represent you in court can help protect your rights and reputation.
Arkansas Project Manager Charged in Oklahoma with COVID-Relief Fraud – The United States Department of Justice is charging an Arkansas man with several federal fraud charges after he is accused of falsifying documents and lying to banks and the SBA while seeking more than $8 million in forgivable loans.
COVID-19 Fraud Hotline: If you suspect anyone is committing COVID-19 related fraud, the DOJ has resources set up for people to report the suspected criminal activity.
Criminal Defense Attorneys COVID-19 Fraud in San Antonio, TX
If you are accused of fraudulently obtaining COVID-19 funding from the SBA or any banks, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Goldstein & Orr. Our federal criminal defense lawyers represent clients in the U.S. District Courts all over Texas, including in the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division.
Let us decide how to best protect you if you have a serious criminal accusation. Call (210)226-1463 for a free consultation today.