Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Attorney
Paycheck Protection Program Defense North Carolina and South Carolina
Paycheck Protection Program Defense
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was a federal crisis aid for small and medium businesses, worth over $650 billion. As part of the CARES Act, PPP loans offered a much-needed financial boost to companies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Created to offer potentially forgivable loans covering up to eight weeks of payroll, PPP funds were intended to stem the rate of unemployment, and help small businesses during the subsequent COVID-19 lockdowns.
Paycheck Protection Loan (PPP) Fraud Attorney
Yes, you may have legal grounds to file a COVID-19 lawsuit and claim financial compensation for your suffering. In general, personal injury law states that you have a claim to compensation if you are hurt due to another party’s negligence. For example, if the responsible party failed to take reasonable actions to prevent the spread of the virus, and as a result, you contracted COVID-19 and suffered damages.
Put simply, you can file a personal injury lawsuit if you get COVID-19, although certain circumstances should be proven in order to receive compensation. If you are able to determine the source of your COVID-19 infection, it’s possible to explore a personal injury lawsuit. You should also be able to show that the defendant failed to meet the minimum requirements needed to protect you from COVID-19. If you can demonstrate all of the above elements of negligence, you can potentially bring a successful legal case for compensation.
What damages can I recover in a COVID-19 Personal Injury Claim?
Due to increased media attention and controversy surrounding the PPP loan fund, the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Treasury have released new guidance to help business owners reassess their eligibility.
During the initial application for a PPP loan, businesses were required to certify that, “current economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant.” This statement is decidedly vague, and created much confusion, causing the SBA to release further guidance stating that borrowers must not be able to “access other sources of liquidity sufficient to support their ongoing operations in a manner that is not significantly detrimental to the business.”
Unfortunately, rather than clarify the eligibility criteria for businesses, this statement is in direct conflict with the CARES Act’s express waiver of the SBA’s requirement that borrowers must specifically demonstrate they are unable to obtain credit elsewhere. This has created an untold amount of stress and confusion among small business owners who are concerned about their legal liability.
In addition to confusion surrounding eligibility, the Department of Justice has also stated that PPP loan proceeds must be used for the following expenses only; payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. For the PPP loan and interest to be forgiven, the businesses must use the funds within eight weeks of receipt — with at least 75% of the total used for payroll.
If you do not meet these stringent criteria, your loan may not be forgiven, and your business could face criminal penalties and substantial fines.
Has Anyone Faced Prosecution For PPP Loan Fraud?
Yes, several businesses have already been prosecuted for PPP loan fraud. On May 13, 2020, a business owner in Texas who fraudulently received federal funds of $10 Million to pay 250 employees was investigated and found to have no employees.
The owner faced charges of wire fraud, bank fraud, false statements to a financial institution, and false statements to the Small Business Administration.
Although the Department Of Justice is tackling obvious instances of fraud, businesses should also be aware that criminal and civil enforcement authorities are likely to verify certifications made by companies regarding their need for PPP funds.
The Bottom Line
According to the False Claims Act, anyone who has knowingly made false statements to obtain PPP loan funds may be subject to criminal liability or civil liability. If you are currently being investigated for PPP loan fraud, or received federal funds under the CARES Act and are concerned about your eligibility, contact our North Carolina Paycheck Protection Program loan fraud attorneys today.