Wisconsin Man, Stephen Smith Pleads Guilty to COVID-Relief Fraud
(STL.News) A Wisconsin man pleaded guilty today for his role in fraudulently obtaining over $600,000 in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
According to court documents, Stephen Smith, 42, of Milwaukee, 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 his co-conspirators to send him portions of the PPP funds within days of receiving them and used the proceeds for personal expenses.
Smith pleaded guilty to bank fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 14, and faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting U.S.