Having a defense attorney ensures someone’s looking out for you and making sure that any evidence they have is real and obtained lawfully. They’ll check if your bank records were subpoenaed, if there could be another explanation, if someone could have submitted something on your behalf without your knowledge. I think a lot of schemers will also have committed identity fraud by looking up a business that’s been around and claiming to be the president of that business by creating fraudulent paperwork. After they receive the money, they’re able to disappear because it wasn’t their real identity in the first place. In some cases, the government might not realize that right away and will come after the real business owner. In that case, an attorney would argue that they’ve never received PPP funds or show bank records for their legitimate funds. Identify theft could be a big issue for the government in this cases.
The process will be as fair as it can be toward you if you did submit fraudulent documents. You still have the presumption of innocence, so you won’t have to worry about a kangaroo court where you’re presumed guilty. Sometimes cases appear dire at first, but once we investigate and review the information, we see potential defenses. Others involve confidential informants who have gotten business owners admitting their fraud in a recording. It depends on the individual facts of each case.
Let’s Talk About the Possible Penalties Stemming From PPP Fraud Investigation and Conviction
Under 18 U.S.C. 1343, which is the wire fraud statute, the maximum penalty is 20 years. Many cases do not receive the full 20-year-sentence. A multitude of factors will determine a particular case, including the amount of money you fraudulently received. Someone who received $15,000 versus someone who received $5 million are going to be two completely different cases when we talk about sentencing.
In addition, your roll in the conspiracy or scheme will be a factor. Were you what’s called the leader or organizer? You get increased sentencing for that. Or were you a minor role participant? You get a sentencing reduction for that.
Another factor would be the number of potential victims and whether there are other charges that go along with the wire fraud, such as an additional bank fraud case or identity theft. These cases usually aren’t a single case of wire fraud; you’re usually charged with multiple crimes that have overlapped, like wire fraud, bank fraud, maybe mail fraud, credit card fraud, identity theft, and conspiracy. Those are major influences on your sentencing because we have to take any other charges into account, as well.
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