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Despite the fact that many businesses obtained PPP loans legally during the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a rise in fraud allegations and investigations in recent years. This has resulted in some recipients facing serious penalties and federal charges. The simple application process and the forgivable nature of PPP loans made them appealing to legitimate business owners, but also made them susceptible to fraudulent activity.

The government agencies investigating and prosecuting allegations of PPP fraud are doing so under multiple federal criminal codes and associated charges. Wire fraud is one of the most common federal offenses we have seen individuals charged with. If you have been charged with PPP wire fraud in South Florida, do not wait to build your defense. Our expert PPP fraud lawyers are ready to get to work for you.

Elements of PPP Wire Fraud

Federal prosecutors favor wire fraud as a catch-all charge because it is so universal and can be used to go after many types of alleged criminal behavior. Wire fraud is a particularly common charge in cases involving suspected PPP fraud in Fort Lauderdale and across South Florida, as most of the funds that were transmitted to recipients’ accounts were done via a wire transfer. So, whether the alleged fraud involved misinformation on the PPP application, the misuse of funds once money was obtained, or a similar circumstance, wire fraud is an especially common charge that our lawyers see in PPP fraud cases.

However, even a charge as broad as wire fraud requires that multiple, succinct elements be proven to achieve a conviction:

  1. The accused individual must have intentionally taken part in a plan or scheme to dispossess an individual or institution of something of value by deceptive means,
  2. The deception must have involved a material fact, and
  3. The deception must also have been carried out over wire communications.

Bear in mind that federal prosecutors do not have to show that the fraudulent scheme succeeded or that the accused ever received something of value (i.e., the PPP funds) to reach a conviction in a PPP fraud case. They also do not need to show that the accused acted alone or that the plan reached fruition. Federal prosecutors only need to show beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused, with full knowledge, participated in a scheme to defraud using wire means.

Hiring the Right PPP Wire Fraud Lawyer

It is crucial to the righ lawyer by your side throughout the entire process of facing a PPP wire fraud charge in South Florida. Wire fraud can result in a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, but this can extend up to 30 years if the victim is a financial institution. Moreover, financial penalties can be imposed for each instance of wire fraud. Hence, if an individual submits multiple fraudulent PPP applications and receives funds for each, they may face increased financial penalties and jail time.

An attorney can investigate your charges thoroughly, negotiate with prosecutors, represent your interests at hearings, and fight tenaciously on your behalf if the case goes to trial. It may be possible to seek a reduction of charges or a complete dismissal by establishing mitigating factors or working out a plea agreement with prosecutors. If the prosecution cannot demonstrate every element of wire fraud, their case will not hold up in court. If intent is missing, a scheme did not occur, or a scheme did not involve a material fact, a defendant could see lessened or dropped charges.

Contact a Fort Lauderdale Attorney to Fight Back Against PPP Wire Fraud Allegations

A conviction for wire fraud could see you facing decades in prison, plus fines in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Remember, the elements of wire fraud required to achieve a conviction revolve around whether there was an intentional scheme in place to defraud via wire communications. The funds need not have been obtained for federal prosecutors to reach a conviction for wire fraud.

The extreme broadness and lack of nuance to the federal wire fraud statute means that many individuals could potentially get caught up in these PPP fraud investigations and charges. If you are one of the many business owners accused of PPP wire fraud in South Florida, you need to get an experienced attorney on the case immediately. Get in touch with our wire fraud law firm today to get started.

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