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Texas Man Charged with Fraud in $5 Million COVID-Relief Scam

A Texas man has been charged in the Eastern District of Texas 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.

Samuel Yates, 32, of Maud, Texas, 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.

“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.”

According to court documents unsealed today in U.S. District Court in Texarkana, Yates allegedly made two fraudulent applications to two different lenders for loans guaranteed by the SBA for COVID-19 relief through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).  In the application submitted to the first lender, Yates allegedly sought $5 million in PPP loan proceeds by fraudulently claiming to have 400 employees with an average monthly payroll of $2 million.  In the second application, Yates claimed to employ over 100 individuals and was able to obtain a loan over $500,000. With each application, Yates submitted a list of purported employees that he obtained from a publicly available random name generator on the internet. He also submitted forged tax documents with each application.

“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.”

The CARES Act is a federal law enacted on March 29, 2020, designed to provide emergency financial assistance to the millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  One source of relief provided by the CARES Act was the authorization of up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and certain other expenses, through the PPP.  In April 2020, Congress authorized over $300 billion in additional PPP funding.

“The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration will aggressively pursue those who try to use the Internal Revenue Service to facilitate their schemes to defraud coronavirus relief programs,” said Special Agent in Charge Dale Forrester of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s Cybercrime Investigations Division.  “Our successes today would have not been possible without the joint efforts of the Small Business Administration Office of the Inspector General, the Department of Justice and other law enforcement partners.”

“Providing false statements to gain access to SBA’s programs will be aggressively investigated by our office,” said Special Agent in Charge Donald Abram of SBA OIG’s Central Region.  “SBA OIG and its law enforcement partners are poised to root out wrongdoers in the Paycheck Protection Program and maintain its integrity.  I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners for their dedication and pursuit of justice.”

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“Today’s arrest should serve as a strong deterrent to anyone considering exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to enrich themselves through fraud. These individuals have no concern for legitimate businesses whose employees and their families are hurting financially during these unprecedented times,” said Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Spradlin of U.S. Immigration and Custom’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Dallas.  “HSI stands at the ready to utilize its ample investigative mandate to assist in rooting out such unscrupulous individuals, and hold them accountable for their crimes.”

The PPP allows qualifying small-businesses and other organizations to receive loans with a maturity of two years and an interest rate of 1 percent.  PPP loan proceeds must be used by businesses on payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.  The PPP allows the interest and principal to be forgiven if businesses spend the proceeds on these expenses within eight weeks of receipt and use at least 75 percent of the forgiven amount for payroll.

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About R. Mitchell

Rich Mitchell is the editor-in-chief of Conservative Daily News and the president of Bald Eagle Media, LLC. His posts may contain opinions that are his own and are not necessarily shared by Anomalous Media, CDN, staff or .. much of anyone else. Find him on twitter, facebook and

One comment

  1. Helen Jan Brown

    IT’S YOUR MONEY, Mr & Mrs Taxpayer…….”If you see/hear something, say something” should be the mantra for this criminal act. YOU worked for that money, why would you let a low life free loader put his hands in your pocket and steal it? You’d call the police to report a stolen garden hose that cost a whole lot less…….Of course the lending agency is in charge of granting the application, but the thief often feels the urge to brag about the “accomplishment”…….It’s not ‘snitching’, it crime prevention ! An anonymous letter to local SBA office will sound the alert and your identity safe.

    This is one of the reasons the Republicans don’t want to rush another relief package through. SBA agencies are already overloaded and ‘haste makes waste’….Yes, more money will be needed, but let’s see where it’s doing what’s intended and where not.

    Profiteers are out in full force in the MeMe world…

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