About a hundred people from states like Texas, North Carolina, and South Carolina were allegedly involved in a million dollar fraud scheme involving the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) of the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act. Four defendants have been charged in the District of South Carolina for their alleged roles in the scheme.
$2 million in PPP loans
The indictment states that the defendants participated in a nationwide operation orchestrated by Liticker to fraudulently obtain $2 million in PPP loans and that they succeeded in obtaining roughly $1 million in such loans. Loans for job retention and other business needs were made available to small firms at low-interest rates through the PPP loan program, which was managed by the Small Business Administration (SBA).
According to the indictment, Liticker helped about a hundred people from across the country submit fraudulent PPP loan applications to SBA-approved lenders for a total of around $80,000. As part of this scheme, he frequently fabricated tax records to back up the nonexistent companies. Liticker would get paid out of the PPP loan money in exchange for his services. It is also claimed in the indictment that Liticker would help have the debts cancelled.
There was a limited supply of money available in the form of PPP loans to help firms weather the storm of these exceptional times. U.S. Attorney Adair F. Boroughs emphasized that every dollar stolen from the taxpayer-funded program was a dollar that could not help a legitimate business in need.
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Air Force Office of Special Investigations
Special Agent in Charge Nicholas J. Groesbeck of OSI Procurement Fraud Detachment 4, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, stated that the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) is committed to preventing the misuse of government resources connected to pandemics. The Association of Fraud Examiners and its law enforcement partners will keep working to stop fraud against law-abiding small businesses, which these initiatives are meant to help.
Special Agent in Charge Chris Dillard, Department of Defense Inspector General, DCIS Mid-Atlantic Field Office, said the arrests showed the agency was committed to bringing those responsible for fraud against the Department of Defense to justice regardless of their affiliation with the military. Protecting government programs and upholding the Department of Defense’s longstanding traditions and ideals of honesty and integrity are two of DCIS and its partners’ top priorities.
Each accused person might be sentenced to up to twenty years in jail, in addition to paying penalties and making reparations.
The COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force
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The COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force was established by the Attorney General on May 17, 2021, to better coordinate and mobilize the resources of the Department of Justice with other government agencies in the fight against and prevention of pandemic-related fraud. By, for example, enhancing and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts, the Task Force strengthens efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud.
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Many government agencies, including the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, the Defense Criminal Investigative Agency, the U.S. Secret Service, and the Small Business Administration’s Office of Inspector General, looked into the matter. Prosecutors include Assistant US Attorneys Derek A. Shoemake and Winston Marosek. Shoemake is also responsible for coordinating the office’s efforts to combat coronavirus fraud. Attached you will find a copy of the indictment as well as a graphic depicting the alleged scheme’s extent.
Boroughs, who is also the United States Attorney, has indicated that the indictment’s counts are merely accusations and that the defendants should be treated as innocent unless proven guilty.
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