In criminal law, the element of intent is always essential in every case, and it’s usually the most challenging element that the government has to prove. They must prove your actions were intentional to reach some end-result, in this case, to defraud the small business administration or the federal program that’s giving the PPP loans. What makes the unintentional or the intent element difficult in PPP loan cases is that many of these cases are supported by documentation since people submit documentation for their loans.
So, suppose they submitted fraudulently altered documentation such as payroll, leases for rent, employee compensation reports, or anything of that nature. In that case, it’s going to be very difficult to undo that and say that that was not intentional. But that can change on a case-by-case basis because then we’ll have to look at who prepared these documents and who had the knowledge that they were fraudulent. In some cases, that might not be the actual client who will be charged. It is a realistic defense, especially in South Florida, where we have a large community that doesn’t speak English. Many business owners may have hired someone or allowed someone to fill out these applications on their behalf. They don’t understand what was submitted, if it was altered, or what was being stated. So if that is the situation then they may have a very strong defense.
What Evidence Can I Use To Prove My Innocence In A PPP Loan Fraud Case? Could I End Up In Prison If I’m Convicted?
Evidence can take many forms. The best will always be documentation, submitted paperwork, emails with anyone who prepared documents, text messages, audio recordings, or anything to help support the defense. Each case will be very different in terms of what evidence it has, direct testimony by the client, the defendant or other witness, is also evidence.
If convicted, there is a very high probability that defendants convicted of PPP loan fraud will face jail time. What will largely determine the punishment is the amount of fraudulent funds they received or misspent.
My Business Partner Applied For The PPP Loan. Why Am I Being Charged With Fraud?
In general, the SBA or the government will look at a business entity and see who the principals are. Often, from a first look, they’re not going to be able to tell who exactly the principal person was applying for the loan because most of the time, it’s just being applied for under the business. They’re going to look at all the individual owners of a company as being potentially involved in the fraud. Something important to look at with your attorney and see what evidence can be uncovered or presented to the government is that maybe one of the owners had nothing to do with it. They were either not involved in the application process or not involved in the submitting of fraudulent information. In the end, all these PPP loan cases go back to fraudulent information being submitted to the SBA to justify a loan amount higher than what they were entitled to; or the loan funds were misused.
Any evidence we can present that a business partner acted autonomously and without the consent or knowledge of a client or other defendant will help shield them from criminal exposure.
For more information on PPP Loan Fraud In Florida, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (305) 791-6529 today.