Milwaukee man's PPP fraud nets 3 years in prison

FILE - The Department of Justice seal.

Stephen Smith, 42, of Milwaukee, was sentenced Wednesday, July 14 to three years in prison for fraudulently seeking more than $600,000 in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.

Smith pleaded guilty on April 12, according to a news release. Court documents state he admitted that he fraudulently sought, on behalf of three different companies, over $600,000 in PPP loans through applications to an insured financial institution.

According to his plea agreement, Smith caused fraudulent loan applications to be submitted that made numerous false and misleading statements about the companies’ respective payroll expenses. Smith then directed co-conspirators to send him portions of the PPP funds within days of receiving them and used the proceeds for personal expenses.

In addition to the prison sentence, Smith was ordered to pay $397,500 in restitution.

In the months since the PPP began, Fraud Section attorneys within the U.S. Department of Justice have prosecuted more than 100 defendants in more than 70 criminal cases – seizing more than $65 million in cash proceeds derived from fraudulently obtained PPP funds, as well as numerous real estate properties and luxury items purchased with such proceeds.

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at justice.gov.

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