A Strong Defense Attorney Against CARES Act PPP Fraud Charges in New York There is no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic led to many changes within the economy and had a devastating impact on many businesses. If your business suffered as a result, you may have looked to the government for help. Any New York business that received funding under the CARES Act should take the time to review this assistance. While it may have been a huge help, the funding under this act could lead to trouble for your business in the future. Our legal team can help you avoid PPP, Paycheck Protection Program, fraud accusations and charges. We have experience in fraud defense and our law firm wants to ensure you and your business do not suffer a wrongful accusation for seeking help in a difficult time. You need a reliable federal criminal defense attorney who understands how to defend in Cares Act – PPP cases. The Basics of the CARES Act Congress passed the CARES Act or the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act on March 27, 2020, as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the economy. This act provided over $2 trillion in economic relief, including economic payments for individuals. It sought to provide job preservation through the Paycheck Protection Program by giving protection to small businesses that lost revenue due to state mandatory shutdowns. A Look at the PPP The aim of the PPP, or Paycheck Protection Program, is to help businesses maintain payroll, cover overhead costs and rehire employees. The Small Business Administration runs the program and offers funding for up to eight weeks. Under the program, if your business receives funds, you can use them to cover payroll expenses and overhead costs, such as rent and utilities, to keep your business running. The funding is available through SBA lenders. The PPP has strict eligibility requirements. You must have a small business as defined by the SBA, which generally means that you have fewer than 500 employees. You must also state that the current economic situation means you need the loan to support the future of your business and its ability to continue operations. PPP Loan Forgiveness One of the draws of these loans is that they were meant to be fully forgiven, but there were conditions. You had to use the funds for the allowed expenses only and you could not let any employees go or decrease wages for at least eight weeks. There are also specific guidelines for forgiveness, such as 75% of the amount of any fund forgiven must be money you used for payroll expenses only. You will need a lawyer to assist you in ensuring that you can show your eligibility for forgiveness and that you meet all the requirements. At the Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PLLC, our New York civil rights lawyers strongly believe in ensuring that violations do not occur. If they already have, we fight for fair recourse against abuse. Call today to learn more. Types of PPP Fraud PPP fraud is becoming more of a focus for government agencies who manage this program. Not only is the SBA reviewing applications and awards of the funding but also the Department of Justice and special Congressional committees are working on uncovering fraud within the program. Some of the activities uncovered so far include: Claiming nonexistent employees Not operating prior to the pandemic Not giving accurate payroll statements Not using funds as authorized for appropriate expenses While many cases are legitimate situations where a business tried to get funding when it was not eligible, there are businesses like yours that do not deserve the scrutiny. When you applied in good faith, you should not have to deal with the government breathing down your neck. You need an attorney to protect your interests. Fraud can happen by mistake because the rules are complex and confusing. Not to mention that other confusing business laws, such as the qualification of a worker as an independent contractor, can also cause trouble as you apply for PPP loans. I can guide you and your New York business through the information and assist you with ensuring you did not make any mistakes in your application. Everyone Is Watching Not only do you have to watch out for the government running reviews of PPP loans but you also need to understand they highly encourage Whistleblowers to turn you in, too. Anyone can get a substantial financial reward for turning in a business for misusing PPP funds. Even if you did nothing wrong, a whistleblower’s accusations will put you on the radar and the government will not just let it drop. It will do an investigation, which means you need a New York CARES Act – PPP fraud defense lawyer by your side to help you navigate what happens next. How To Keep Your Business Safe From Prosecution Your focus needs to remain on keeping your business safe from prosecution. Being proactive about it is the best way to face the current surge of PPP fraud investigations. As our legal team assists you, we will reassess your eligibility. You want to look at the criteria and standards at the time you filed to ensure you fully qualified. We will also help you to gather all the supporting documentation you need to prove your eligibility and to show how you used the funds. Fraud can happen at any stage of the process when securing PPP funding. You could have made an error on your application. Perhaps there were changes between the time you applied and when you received the funds, so accepting the funding might have been a mistake. Many issues occur when it comes to spending the money and responding to any inquiries the government makes once you have the funds. Our defense team wants to help you make sure you are ready to act at any stage and back up what you present to the SBA or any other government agency that may investigate your business. If we find anything of concern or you think you received the money in error, you can return the money in part or full. You may need to explain why you did not return the money earlier since the safe harbor period ended in May 2020. However, we can walk you through this and look out for your best interests if you need to return any PPP funds. Having a New York CARES ACT – PPP lawyer on your side can give you peace of mind during this challenging time. We understand that you were trying to save your business and not looking to commit fraud against the government. We also know how confusing the CARES Act and Payroll Protection Program were and how easy it was to make a mistake during the process of securing a loan. If you worry about prosecution for simply exercising your rights to funding, you need a PPP – CARES Act defense attorney. Contact our law firm today. We can help you review your situation and get ahead of any potential problems. Call the Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PLLC, for fraud defense at 718-878-3781. Contact our firm online 24/7 to schedule your initial case consultation.