Wisconsin man pleads guilty for over $600k in COVID fraud

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(WFRV) – A Wisconsin man pleaded guilty for his role in fraudulently obtaining over $600,000 in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.

According to court documents, 42-year-old Stephen Smith, who is from Milwaukee, admitted to fraudulently seeking over $600,000 in PPP loans on behalf of three different companies. According to Smith’s plea deal, Smith submitted fraudulent loan applications that had multiple misleading statements about the companies’ respective payroll expenses.

Smith would then have portions of the PPP funds sent to him within days of the companies receiving them, and Smith reportedly used those funds for personal expenses. Smith is scheduled to be sentenced on July 14, 2021, and faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.

The loans were guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

A Pewaukee man pleaded guilty to a similar scheme back in Feb. 2021.

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