Michigan Man Convicted for COVID-19 Relief Fraud
The criminal has been sentenced to 32 months in prison for fraudulently acquiring PPP loans.
On Tuesday (14 September), a Michigan man was sentenced to 32 months in federal prison for fraudulently seeking nearly $1 million in Pay-check Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, said the Department of Justice.
The man named Michael Bischoff, 60, from Macomb County, pleaded guilty to committing bank fraud on November 23, 2020, in the Eastern District of Michigan.
Bischoff admitted to defrauding multiple financial institutions through the submission of at least 9 fraudulent PPP loan applications, all of which falsely represented information regarding his payroll, business expenses, and the number of employees working at his restaurants.
Bischoff also pleaded guilty to committing identity theft, as he used another person’s Personally Identifiable Information (PII) for gaining monetary benefits. Additionally, he submitted various fabricated tax documents to secure the PPP loans.
All in all, Bischoff fraudulently attempted to acquire approximately USD 931,000 in COVID-19 relief funds and successfully received around USD 593,590. In addition to his prison sentence, the defendant has been ordered to serve three years of supervised release, on top of being charged with USD 593,590 in restitution and an additional USD 5,000 fine.
Since the onset of the PPP loans, Fraud Section attorneys have managed to prosecute more than 100 defendants in more than 70 criminal cases. The Fraud Section has also seized more than USD 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.
Numerous economies worldwide are facing the dilemma of rising COVID-19 related fraud. With the help of robust RegTech solutions such as identity verification software; fraudulent documents, transactions, and identity information can be detected within seconds.