Have You Been Charged With COVID-19 Disaster Relief Fraud in Los Angeles?
Call the Law Offices of Stanley L. Friedman for a Skilled, Knowledgeable and Vigorous Defense
The COVID-19 pandemic has left a lasting impact that continues to be felt to this day. No one has been untouched by the pandemic in some way, but for some people, COVID threatens to leave a different kind of mark in the form of hefty fines and jail time. For several years and continuing to this day, the Department of Justice has been prosecuting hundreds of people for alleged fraud in COVID-19 programs involving billions of dollars.
Government loans and grants like the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) were created to offer a financial lifeline to struggling businesses. But what happens when you find yourself under investigation for allegedly misusing these funds? This is where Stanley L. Friedman steps in, a veteran white-collar criminal defense attorney based in Los Angeles. With nearly 30 years of defense experience built on a background as a former federal prosecutor, Mr. Friedman has the expertise to help you navigate the complicated legal terrain surrounding COVID-19 disaster relief fraud.
Understanding the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) are two significant financial assistance initiatives launched by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to help businesses combat the adverse economic impacts of various crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic. These programs aim to provide essential funding to businesses, enabling them to maintain their operations and retain employees.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) offers forgivable loans to small businesses, intended primarily to cover payroll costs. The program encourages businesses to keep employees on the payroll by forgiving the loan if employee retention criteria are met and the funds are used for eligible expenses. Generally, small businesses with fewer than 500 employees, including sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals, are eligible for this loan program. Applications are typically submitted through approved SBA lenders, which can include banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions. Required documentation often includes payroll records, tax returns, and financial statements.
Misusing PPP funds can result in severe penalties, including criminal charges. The business must use at least 60% of the loan amount for payroll costs to qualify for loan forgiveness. Failure to comply can result in the loan not being forgiven and the business being required to pay back the loan amount with interest.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) provide long-term, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profit organizations that are experiencing economic hardship due to a disaster. The loan can be used for working capital and operating expenses. Businesses with 500 or fewer employees, including sole proprietorships and independent contractors, are usually eligible. However, the business must demonstrate economic injury and be located in a declared disaster area. Applications for EIDL are submitted directly to the SBA via its online portal. Businesses may need to provide financial statements, tax returns, and a detailed list of liabilities.
EIDL funds are strictly for business use and cannot be used for personal expenses or debt repayment. Misuse of funds can lead to civil and criminal penalties, including fines and imprisonment.
Signs You Are Being Investigated for COVID-19 Disaster Relief Fraud
So how would you even know if you’re under investigation for COVID-19 disaster relief fraud? Keep an eye out for any unusual business audits, federal agents questioning you or your employees, or subpoenas requesting documents related to your PPP or EIDL loans. The sooner you recognize these red flags, the faster you can take action to protect yourself. Contacting an experienced white-collar criminal defense attorney before charges are ever filed can help you get the best outcome possible.
What to Do When Federal Agents Knock On Your Door
If federal agents show up at your doorstep, it’s crucial to remain calm and polite but be cautious about what you say. Everything you disclose could be used against you. Politely decline to answer any questions until you have legal representation. As soon as the agents leave, immediately contact Stanley L. Friedman. His extensive courtroom and trial experience, particularly in healthcare and financial fraud criminal cases, can be invaluable in these stressful situations. We’ll take the time to understand your situation and craft a strategy for a good result.
Contact the Law Offices of Stanley L. Friedman for Defense Against COVID-19 Disaster Relief Fraud Charges in Los Angeles
Facing COVID-19 disaster relief fraud charges can be overwhelming. The key to effectively tackling these allegations is early intervention by a seasoned legal expert. If you’re in the Los Angeles area and are looking for someone who knows the ins and outs of white-collar criminal defense, give Stanley L. Friedman a call. Here you’ve found someone who can break down complex legal jargon into plain language you can understand and help you chart a path forward. So why wait? Take the first step toward protecting your future today.
If you’re under investigation or have been charged with COVID-19 disaster relief fraud regarding a PPP or EIDL loan, don’t try to solve this problem alone. Reach out to the Law Offices of Stanley L. Friedman in Los Angeles for the seasoned expertise and personalized defense strategy you need.