PPP Loan Fraud: A White-Collar Crime Perspective

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Mar 03, 2024 | 0 Comments

The United States Attorney's Office issued a press release detailing criminal charges two Pittsburgh men faced for conspiring to defraud the U.S. government. The men were sentenced to 3 years probation following submitting false loan applications through the COVID-19 Payroll Protection Program (“PPP”). The fraudulent applications resulted in a loss of over $60,000 to the federal government. The case is one of many fraudulent schemes the federal government has recently prosecuted following ongoing investigations into the use of illegally obtained COVID-19 relief funds.

Although sometimes viewed as less drastic, convictions for white-collar crimes can still carry significant penalties, including substantial fines and jail time. If you are being charged with financial or fraudulent crimes such as forgery, embezzlement, identity theft, or credit card, contact the LLF Law Firm Criminal Defense Team for help by calling 888-535-3686 or by using our online contact form.

Fraudulent Loan Applications

Fraudulent loan applications fall under the umbrella of white-collar crime, which encompasses a variety of non-violent, financially motivated offenses typically committed by business and government professionals. Fraudulent application crimes generally are characterized by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust. In the context of PPP loans, the parties charged with submitting false loan applications lied about their names, business entities, funds, etc., concealing their identity. This resulted in a violation of trust that the federal government had in their signed applications.

Possible Defenses

While fraudulent PPP loan applications may seem like a straightforward case for the prosecution, many available defenses can challenge white-collar charges. A lack of intent to defraud or a showing of genuine misunderstanding regarding the terms of the PPP loan application, for example, could be appropriate defenses. If intent to fraud is obvious, plea deal negotiations can drastically mitigate the full effect of the fines and other penalties.

Other Types of White-Collar Crimes

White Collar Crimes are typically financially motivated and involve some element of fraudulent intent. Headlines over the years have been splattered with financially motivated fraudulent activity traced to public figures such as Martha Stewart, Bernie Madoff, Elizabeth Homes, and most notably, Charles Ponzi, a 1920s criminal who paid off investors with additional investment funds, coning the infamous term “Ponzi Scheme.”

Although they have nuances, many White-Collar Crimes revolve around fraudulent intent. Embezzlement, for example, occurs when one party defrauds another party while having access to their funds, misappropriating them for personal use. Tax Evasion can similarly arise when a party defrauds the federal government through failure to report income or reporting unauthorized deductions. Identify Theft, Corporate Fraud, and Counterfeiting occur when a party fraudulently falsifies documents at the expense of another for their financial gain.

White-Collar Crime Defense Attorneys

White Collar Crimes are complex and typically involve lengthy investigations, a detailed analysis of extensive paper trails, expert testimony, and, at times, significant attention from the news and media outlets. If you are facing a criminal charge for a White-Collar Crime, our experienced attorneys trained in finance law, tax law, criminal defense, and securities law can help. Contact the LLF Law Firm Criminal Defense Team today by calling 888-535-3686 or by using our online contact form.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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