WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Federal prosecutors on Tuesday charged a Texas man with fraudulently seeking $ 5 million in loans as part of an emergency program put in place to ease economic strains caused by the coronavirus.
Prosecutors allege in a criminal complaint that Samuel Yates, 32, of Maud, Texas, requested millions of dollars in loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration from two different banks. Yates claimed to employ more than 400 people, although in reality “no employee worked for his alleged company,” prosecutors said in a statement.
“This defendant has allegedly sought to steal millions of dollars in loans intended to help legitimate small businesses grappling with the economic effects of COVID-19”, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus, said Brian Benczkowski, head of the division criminal justice department.
Prosecutors said the charges against Yates include violating laws relating to wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements to a financial institution and making false statements to the SBA.
They said Yates made two fraudulent requests to two different lenders for SBA-guaranteed loans for COVID-19 relief through the virus-fighting plan called the Paycheck Protection Program.
In a claim submitted to one of the lenders, Yates allegedly requested $ 5 million in PPP loan proceeds by fraudulently claiming to have 400 employees with an average monthly payroll of $ 2 million.
In his second loan application, prosecutors say Yates claimed to employ more than 100 people and was able to secure a loan of more than $ 500,000.
To substantiate those claims, prosecutors say Yates submitted a list of suspected employees he obtained from a publicly available random name generator on the Internet. He also submitted false tax documents with every claim.
Reuters was unable to immediately locate Yates.
Reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by Dan Grebler