PPP and EIDL Fraud

Jon May is available to represent individuals who are under investigation or being prosecuted for defrauding the United States of monies made paid to businesses and individuals under the CARES Act. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act was enacted on March 29, 2020. It was intended to provide emergency financial assistance to the millions of Americans suffering the economic effects caused by the COVI–19 pandemic. 

The CARES Act authorized the payment of hundreds of billions of dollars in forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and certain other expenses through the Small Business Administration’s (“SBA”) Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”). 

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program was enacted to provide economic relief to small businesses that were experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. EIDL proceeds could be used to cover a wide array of working capital and normal operating expenses, such as continuation of health care benefits, rent, utilities, and fixed debt payments.

The Department of Justice has called fraud on the CARES Act “the largest fraud in U.S. history.” From April 3, 2020, through May, $800 billion handed out to small businesses in low-interest uncollateralized loans. The government estimates that 10% of this money was lost to fraud.

Examples of prosecutions brought against individuals for defrauding these programs:

Press Release – Thursday, March 17, 2022

Leader of Pandemic Unemployment Insurance Benefits Scheme Sentenced to Prison and Ordered to Pay More Than $350k in Restitution

Lawrence Lawson, 41, of Cleveland, Ohio, was sentenced on March 15, 2022, to 51 months in prison and ordered to pay $355,849 in restitution after Lawson pleaded guilty to his role in a conspiracy that fraudulently obtained COVID-19 pandemic unemployment insurance benefits.

According to court records, from May through November of 2020, Lawson would recruit co-conspirators and other individuals to file pandemic unemployment insurance benefit claims on their behalf in exchange for a portion of the proceeds received. 

Court records state that these individuals then provided Lawson and Clifton with their personal identifying information, and Clifton would file the claims on their behalf from her residence in Willoughby, Ohio. Clifton submitted claims through the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS) and other State Workforce Agencies (SWAs) in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Rhode Island, Delaware, Hawaii, Montana, Arizona and California.

If a claim was processed successfully, a pre-loaded bank-issued debit card was mailed to the recipient. Lawson and Clifton then took a portion of the funds received as payment. As ODJFS and the other SWAs required re-certification of an unemployed person’s status, Lawrence and Clifton charged an additional weekly fee to provide this service to their co-conspirators. If an individual failed to pay this fee, Lawrence and Clifton ceased verification of the unemployment status and the benefits would stop. 

Leader of Pandemic Unemployment Insurance Benefits Scheme Sentenced to Prison and Ordered to Pay More Than $350k in RestitutionU.S. Department of Justice

Press Release – Thursday, March 31, 2022

Naples Felon Arrested and Charged With COVID Relief Fraud

Fort Myers, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces the arrest and unsealing of a criminal complaint charging Daniel Joseph Tisone (34, Naples) with wire fraud, bank fraud, and illegal monetary transactions. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison on each of the fraud charges and up to 10 years in federal prison for the illegal monetary transaction offense.

According to the complaint, between March 2020 and April 2021, Tisone, a convicted felon, submitted false and fraudulent Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), Main Street Lending Program (MSLP), and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications to the Small Business Administration, as well as PPP and MSLP approved lenders. The loan applications contained numerous false representations, including the criminal history, average monthly payroll, number of employees, and gross revenues of the applicant, Tisone. In support of the fraudulent EIDL, PPP, and MSLP applications, Tisone submitted false and fictitious payroll and tax documents, as well as a fake commercial lease.

Tisone’s false and fraudulent representations caused the SBA, PPP and MSLP lenders to approve and fund one MSLP, three EIDL, and five PPP loans, totaling approximately $2,523,954.17. Tisone then unlawfully used the funds to purchase more than $1 million in stocks and investment securities, as well as the purchase of a residence in the Naples, Florida area.

Naples Felon Arrested and Charged With COVID Relief FraudU.S. Department of Justice

Press Release – Friday, February 25, 2022

Owner of Information Technology Services Company Fraudulently Sought More Than $13 Million in Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program Loans

BOSTON – A Winchester man was convicted by a federal jury yesterday in connection with filing fraudulent loan applications seeking more than $13 million in forgivable loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) for COVID-19 relief through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 

Elijah Majak Buoi, 40, was convicted following a three-day trial of four counts of wire fraud and one count of making a false statement to a financial institution. U.S. District Court Chief Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for June 16, 2022. Buoi was arrested and charged by criminal complaint in June 2020 and subsequently indicted by a federal grand jury in July 2020.

Buoi submitted six fraudulent PPP loan applications on behalf of his company Sosuda Tech, LLC (Sosuda) to four different SBA-approved lenders. In each loan application, Buoi misrepresented the number of employees and payroll expenses. Buoi also submitted fraudulent IRS tax forms in support of his applications. The evidence at trial showed that Sosuda was a startup company with no U.S.-based payroll and no U.S.-based employees. As a result of his scheme, Buoi obtained a $2 million PPP loan. The government recovered approximately $1.97 million of the loan funds.

Winchester Man Convicted of COVID-Relief FraudU.S. Department of Justice