Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Texas Man Charged with $5 Million COVID-Relief Fraud

5-20-2020 - Samuel Yates, of Maud, Texas, was charged Tuesday with allegedly filing bank loan applications fraudulently seeking more than $5 million dollars in forgivable loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Yates allegedly sought millions of dollars in forgivable loans guaranteed by the SBA from two different banks by claiming to have over 400 employees earning wages when, in fact, no employees worked for his purported business.

Yates is charged by way of a federal criminal complaint with violations of wire fraud, bank fraud, false statements to a financial institution, and false statements to the SBA.

“This defendant allegedly sought to steal millions of dollars in loans intended to aid legitimate small businesses grappling with the economic effects of COVID-19,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.  “The department and our law enforcement partners will use all the tools at our disposal to investigate and prosecute frauds against the Paycheck Protection Program.”

“Any time the government provides large amounts of money to the public there are people who will try to cheat the system,” said U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown of the Eastern District of Texas.  “We encourage lenders to be very careful, and to report suspicious applications.  It is a priority of the Department of Justice to deter and prosecute this type of fraud.”

Source: Press release from the US Department of Justice, dated May 19, 2020.

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