Fraudulent Loan Applications for Pandemic Disaster Relief Funds
Fraudulent loan applications for COVID-19 pandemic disaster relief funds result in serious criminal charges in Georgia.
While fraud is often considered a so-called ‘white collar crime,’ it is a serious matter that could result in criminal charges, both in Georgia and on a federal level. This could result in heavy fines, potentially lengthy jail sentences, and a criminal record that follows you for the rest of your life. These charges can also elicit a strong public outcry, causing irreparable damage to your personal or professional reputation. This is particularly true in recent cases involving fraudulent loan applications for COVID-19 pandemic-related disaster relief funds.
Nine People Face Felony Charges in Georgia for Fraud Related to Pandemic Relief
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, when case counts were soaring, lockdowns were in effect, and millions of people lost their jobs, the federal government approved COVID-19 pandemic related relief through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. In addition to providing major bailouts of public companies and a one-time stimulus payment of $1,200 per person, the CARES Act authorized funds for the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help hard hit owners keep their doors open and pay their employees.
According to a November 12, 2020 news release from the United States Department of Justice, federal officials recently made a series of arrests after conducting a major investigation into fraudulent applications designed to unlawfully obtain COVID-19 pandemic-related relief. Among those facing charges include nine Augusta, Georgia individuals. They are accused of creating fake businesses that were named on relief fund applications. More than $400,000 in fraudulently obtained funds have thus far been seized, and allegations leveled against the individuals involved include:
- Fraudulent loan and business applications;
- Misrepresentations to the Small Business Administration regarding business income and number of employees;
- Misuse of social security numbers;
- Wire fraud.
Criminal charges related to fraud are a serious matter to begin with. The fact that they involve attempts to illegally profit from funds made available to help people during the COVID-19 pandemic only increases the public outcry against those involved and the severity of penalties they are likely to face.
Fraud Charges in Georgia
Any fraud charges in Georgia are serious and require a strong and immediate criminal defense. Under the Georgia Code, fraud crimes generally involve a theft of money, goods, services, or anything of value and may include any of the following:
- Identity theft;
- Writing and depositing bad checks;
- Illegal use of bank or credit cards;
- Illegally establishing lines of credit in other’s names;
- Providing false information on loan applications.
As the above case shows, in addition to fines, court costs, and potential jail time for fraud charges in Georgia, you could also end up facing federal penalties.
Contact Our Gwinnett County Fraud Defense Attorneys
At Zimmerman & Associates, we provide the professional legal representation you need to defend yourself against state or federal fraud charges. To discuss your case and how we can help, call or contact our Norcross fraud defense attorneys online and request a consultation today.