In an unprecedented reaction to help stabilize the American economy during the current COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government provided an initial $2 trillion, and since, even more, for families and small businesses. While this move may seem incredibly generous, it has actually opened the door for numerous attempts at fraud. Even the federal government doesn’t seem to be keeping its promises.
The relative lack of security in claiming much of this stimulus money had precipitated a four-fold increase in complaints of identity fraud to the Federal Trade Commission. As Americans rush to file unemployment claims and small businesses hurry to apply for new SBA loans, the system has simply been overwhelmed. Website crashes are common, as are long wait times with numerous errors for those using sites to apply for benefits.
Unwarranted Fraud Due to Changing Guidelines
In order to get money into the hands of small businesses quickly, the federal government issued broad guidelines for new Small Business Administration (SBA) stimulus loans, including Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), from which the initial $10,000 would not require repayment. In fact, even if your company is turned down for an EIDL loan, the initial $10,000 is supposed to be yours anyway – free.
Needless to say, this program saw a rush of applicants that overwhelmed banks, who themselves had received unclear guidelines on how to best disburse these funds. Moreover, the Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) loans through the SBA may also be forgiven over time, if the funds were used primarily for employee payroll expenses and not other business expenses.
The problems arise with some actions that seem to be contrary to the government’s initial promises. Some businesses that filed and were granted an EIDL loan only received an initial $1,000, not $10,000; which raises the question of how much they will receive or actually have to pay back. Other problems occur with the PPP loans when it comes to defining payroll expenses.
Criminal Fraud Representation in Atlanta
If you end up facing criminal fraud charges concerning how you used federal stimulus money because of changing guidelines and confusion, you need the experienced, talented legal services of Richard Grossman, Criminal Fraud Attorney in Atlanta, GA. He has a long history of defending the rights of clients, even before the federal government.
When amazingly complex situations like this arise, for which there is no precedent, you need experience in trial law to protect you. Your good intentions and honest attempt at getting help during the coronavirus pandemic will mean little before government lawyers and the courts. These stimulus measures are still in the process of being doled out, and changes occur weekly. If you find yourself facing charges after attempting to obtain financial help from the government, call Richard Grossman, Trial Attorney to help you build a defense. Your initial consultation is free.