Seek PPP Business Aid Wrongfully, Expect Fraud Charges in Illinois
In an effort to provide emergency financial aid to millions of Americans impacted economically by the global coronavirus crisis, the federal government introduced the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Economic Relief through the Federal CARES Act
You may be familiar with the CARES Act because of the Economic Impact Payment (the stimulus payment) you might have received back in the spring. However, in addition to providing stimulus payments to American taxpayers, the CARES Act also offered relief to small businesses.
The bill established the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which authorized up to $659 billion in forgivable loans for job retention and other expenses. The program is designed to provide small businesses with funds to pay for up to 8 weeks of payroll costs, mortgages, rent, and utilities.
The PPP has been a source of much-needed support for Illinois’s many small businesses. However, it has also created an opportunity for businesses to commit fraud, and the Justice Department has already filed 30 PPP fraud cases.
Payment Protection Program Fraud in Chicago
In Chicago, the owner of several information technology companies in the city has been charged bank fraud and making false statements to a financial institution for allegedly filing a fraudulent application for a $441,138 loan.
The business owner reportedly submitted fraudulent 1099-MISC forms claiming the company had made payments to several workers. However, the workers confirmed with investigators that they never received these payments.
In addition, the man allegedly submitted IRS Forms 941 that misrepresented his company’s quarterly payroll expenses for 2019 as being significantly higher than they actually were.
Keep in mind that this story represents a federal criminal complaint — not a conviction — and that the Chicago business owner is considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
How Bank Fraud Is Defined by Illinois Law
In Illinois, you can be charged with false statement bank fraud if you make a false statement in writing in order to obtain money, funds, credits, assets, securities, or other property from a bank or other financial institution. You can also be charged with this crime if you make a false statement in writing to obtain services from a currency exchange.
A false statement is considered any written statement that misrepresents your identity, address, or employment, or the identity, address, or employment of another person or company.
In order to be found guilty of this type of crime, you must be aware that the writing is false, and have written it with the intent to defraud the institution, knowing that the information you supplied would be relied on.
Penalties for Illinois Bank Fraud
The penalties for bank fraud in Illinois may vary depending on the amount of money that was allegedly stolen.
Bank fraud where the total value of money allegedly stolen is less than $300 is considered a Class A misdemeanor. In Illinois, a Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500, or both.
Bank fraud where the total value of money allegedly stolen is between $301 and $10,000 is considered a Class 3 felony. In Illinois, a Class 3 felony is punishable by up to 5 years in a state penitentiary and a fine of up to $25,000, or both.
Bank fraud where the total value of money allegedly stolen is between $10,001 and $100,000 is considered a Class 2 felony. In Illinois, a Class 2 felony is punishable by up to 7 years in a state penitentiary and a fine of up to $25,000, or both.
Bank fraud where the total value of money allegedly stolen is more than $100,000 is considered a Class 1 felony. In Illinois, a Class 2 felony is punishable by up to 15 years in a state penitentiary and a fine of up to $25,000, or both.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes. His work has been recognized by Avvo, Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, and others, and he has been featured on countless news outlets for his experience and knowledge in criminal law.