PPP Loan Fraud

When the US was in the grip of the first waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government established Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. However, there were ways to defraud the system, which quickly led to the need for specialized legal assistance, like PPP loan fraud lawyers in California.

PPP loans, also known as forgivable loans, saved literally hundreds of thousands of small businesses from foreclosure as the economic effects of the lockdown made themselves known. Now, if you’re facing PPP loan fraud accusations, LibertyBell Law Group can give you the best legal representation.

Get in touch to find out how our expert PPP loan lawyers can help you face charges of potential fraud.

What is PPP Loan Fraud?

There are a few ways to commit Paycheck Protection Program loan fraud. For example, you commit this when you submit a fraudulent loan application. 

Fraud also occurs when you don’t spend the loan money as the loan program states. Applying for PPP loan forgiveness under false circumstances also counts as PPP loan fraud.

A Brief Outline of What PPP Fraud Is

Companies and individuals can be charged with PPP fraud if they:

  • Lied on the application
  • Number of employees is fewer than 500
  • Misclassification of employees as independent contractors
  • Misrepresenting their small business eligibility
  • Lied about the payroll cost to secure a bigger loan
  • Applied for PPP loans from several financial institutions, known as loan stacking
  • Used the money for purposes other than those stipulated
  • Submitted false certification for PPP loan forgiveness applications
  • Lied to federal agents during a PPP loan fraud audit

How is PPP Loan Fraud Investigated?

Four federal agencies within the federal government are investigating PPP loan fraud.

The Small Business Administration, Office of Inspector General 

They investigate PPP loan fraud on a case-by-case basis. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) isn’t a law enforcement agency and doesn’t have a criminal division as such, but if you’re investigated by the Small Business Administration (SBA), there’s a good possibility that you will be charged with a federal crime.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigates all types of federal fraud, including white-collar crimes such as Paycheck Protection Program loan fraud. The agency looks for any signs of fraud committed by a person or business entity that uses the PPP loan for illegal acts.

The Department of Justice

The Department of Justice (DOJ) targets and prosecutes those who are suspected of PPP loan fraud. The DOJ can file several different charges simultaneously, including bank fraud, wire fraud, identity theft, and more.

The Internal Revenue Service

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) gets involved when fraud alerts point them to suspects who underreport or underpay federal tax liabilities. The IRS Criminal Investigation division targets individuals and business entities that present a fraud risk and are suspected of tax evasion and PPP fraud.

Step-by-Step PPP Loan Fraud Investigation

The first step in federal and civil investigations is to check and verify the documents the accused provided. If necessary, investigators can subpoena your bank to get your bank statements, especially if they have already aroused the suspicion of potential fraud schemes.

Discrepancies between the submitted statements and the actual statements result in automatic charges of fraud. The IRS just has to verify the number of employees you reported in the previous two years against the number of employees claimed on the loan application. Discrepancies can result in automatic fraud charges.

Investigators can contact the employees listed to ensure they really exist. Your accountant might also be brought into action, especially if they assisted in the submission of the fraudulent application and can be charged as a co-conspirator. At the least, they could be investigated to find compromised accounts across their client base.

At this point, you ought to contact LibertyBell Law Group and engage the services of one of the most reputable and successful PPP loan fraud lawyers in California.

What are the Legal Penalties for PPP Loan Fraud in California?

PPP loan fraud is a serious crime, and it carries serious penalties. For example, you can be charged with making false statements to a federal agency, making false statements to the SBA, making false statements on a loan application, and bank fraud.

As a business owner, you could be looking at anything from five years to 99 years in prison. There is also a possible $1 million fine.

To the fullest extent of the law, straightforward PPP loan fraud penalties include a fine of up to $250,000, up to five years in prison, or both. Furthermore, you may have to repay the total loan amount on top of the other penalties.

If you think you’re under suspicion for PPP loan fraud, contact LibertyBell Law Group. Our trial lawyers are thorough when it comes to preparing for your trial, especially as far as pre-trial prep is concerned. You’ll never have a more prepared defense team on your side.

What to Do if You’re Being Investigated for PP Loan Fraud?

One of the most important things you should do is not panic! It can be intimidating when federal law enforcement agencies make it known that you are a suspect or bring you in for questioning.

Try not to make any statements until you’ve consulted with your attorney. If you do make statements in the heat of the moment, they can be used in court against you. You have a right to an attorney. Exercise that right and contact LibertyBell Law Group’s PPP loan fraud lawyers in California.

Don’t volunteer to provide officials with your PPP loan documentation. Let them get a search warrant if necessary. Don’t take any action until your PPP loan fraud attorney arrives.

It’s possible your bank account might be frozen as part of the investigation. Don’t panic, it’s usually part of a standard investigation, although it does imply that they could be getting ready to file charges against you.

Your attorney will give you options that might enable you to evade criminal charges. For example, as the accused, you could pay back the loan as well as the fine to avoid federal criminal charges. It might not seem like the best option at the time, but if 99 years in prison is a likely sentence, it’s probably a good idea to take the repayment option.

As a side note, if you are going to be investigated, inform all your employees so they know what to expect. The rumor mill can be far worse than transparency, so go with the truth as you see it.

Choose the Best PPP Loan Fraud Lawyers in California from LibertyBell Law Group

A PPP loan fraud conviction will play havoc with your life. Unless your family is incredibly supportive, you run the risk of facing the whole ordeal on your own, and that’s before the effects on your career are taken into consideration.

These are just two reasons you need a team of experienced lawyers who can minimize the potential penalties, secure favorable settlements, and even get the charges against you dismissed.

LibertyBell Law Group’s primary purpose is to keep you out of federal prison. We will work tirelessly on your behalf to ensure we reach that goal.

To secure the best PPP loan lawyers in California who will always have your best interests at heart, complete our online form to get top legal services and advice from California’s best criminal defense team. You may also call 855-520-0338 at LibertyBell Law Group today!



Best Civil Attorneys - Gina Tennen

Gina Tennen


At A Glance

  • Expert legal strategist.
  • Experienced in both prosecution and defense.
  • Relentless fighter for her clients with results to prove it.
  • Received the National Top 100 Trial Lawyers Award
  • Featured in Time Magazine’s “Leaders of Criminal Defense” in the 100 Most Influential People edition.

Executive Managing Attorney Gina Tennen is a renowned leading advocate of personal liberties. Her meticulous trial preparation and exceptional ability to pursue every possible defense has earned her the admiration of clients and respect from prosecutors, judges, and other criminal attorneys all over the nation.

Lawyer Tennen began her career as a Senior Law Clerk for one of the toughest District Attorney’s offices in the country where she gained remarkable experience in juvenile crimes, elder abuse, parole hearings, child abuse, sex and other serious crimes. Her experience at the District Attorney’s Office armed her knowledge and case strategy in exploiting the other side’s weaknesses for the client’s advantage and building a rock solid defense. Criminal attorney Tennen’s experience on both sides and brilliant maneuvering throughout is evidenced in her winning track record. In fact, even before earning her law degree, she was instrumental in getting excellent results on several criminal cases outshining her peers.

A consummate strategist and top criminal attorney, lawyer Tennen works tirelessly on many high profile criminal cases. She is known as a relentless fighter who never gives up on any case. Whether the case is hers or handled by another criminal defense attorney from LibertyBell Law Group, no matter how small the case may seem she asserts that every client deserves the right to the best legal representation.

It is her deep belief and what she has built her entire career and lifelong dedication to that there is always hope for every client and every avenue should be pursued regardless of the time and energy it takes. For criminal attorney, Gina Tennen, devoting the finest criminal defense for clients is a habit and talent that you must apply and do all the time.

You demand the best defense. Take hold of your life and speak to our defense attorneys by calling 855-LAW-PRO1 (855-529-7761) now.

Founder Gina Tennen and all the defense attorneys at LibertyBell Law Group uphold that when the bell rings, it rings for life and liberty for all.



Gina was like a lioness protecting her cub.


I hired Gina and her team for my son who was facing 10 years for something they said he did when he was 17 years old. Gina was like a lioness protecting her cub. She did not stop. She fought hard and was able to defend the charges. We are so grateful to her and her team. They gave us our son. He recovered his life!

– L. W.
Best defense lawyers in the country.


I hired this law firm in 2014 for my son who was facing 16 years in prison for a felony robbery. Lina Helou answered all our questions. I was extremely distraught regarding what my son was facing but Lina comforted me and told me that it would be okay. And thank goodness LibertyBell saved my son from going to jail and they were able to obtain only 3 years of probation. I could not have hired a better law firm for my son and if you want the best defense call LibertyBell Law Group. Thank God for this great group of lawyers.

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A great team of lawyers.


I do not have enough words to describe how incredible the experience with this firm was. They work very hard to make sure you have winning results. I could not have asked for better service from the moment I called, until my case was over. I was glad I made the right choice. Thank you again LibertyBell Law Group!

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She took her time to review all of my evidence and proved my innocence.


My father had found this group through his company and coworkers. I was assigned Gina Tennen and I cannot explain in just a review on how gratefull I am to be working with her. My case was an accusation of unlawful sex. This had looked extremely bad on my part since I was in a fraternity and she was in a sorority. During these times with Greek life, there are too many bad stigmas surrounding these organizations. Gina had believed in me and knew that I was innocent and that these accusations just were not true. She took her time to review all of my evidence and proved my innocence. I totally recommend this law group because they are willing to put in the work to help your situation.

– C. D.
Gina always kept me fully aware of how the case was proceeding.


When I first heard I was under a criminal investigation, I initially thought I would try and resolve this in the best way possible, without legal representation, as we were all interested in a "just" outcome. I quickly discovered that was not the case and contacted Gina at LibertyBell. She clearly described the expectations and the choices available to me. She was always available to me, and when I called, if she couldn't talk with me at that time, she would quickly get back to me. Gina always kept me fully aware of how the case was proceeding. Her fee's were stipulated up front, as well as what those fees covered and what they did not.

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Being involved in legal matters can be scary. When researching who to put my trust in, I came across Liberty and I am glad that I did. From the first time that I met with Gina and her team she made me feel comfortable and listened to all that I had to say. She assured me that her team would be on it and that they would do everything that they could! A little while in, Alan took over my case. When meeting with him you can tell that this is his passion and I immediately knew he was going to do everything in his power to make the outcome right! He was relentless and worked day and night working on the case. He kept in constant communication with me and truly cared not only about me but about my family as well. I am forever grateful for the support that this whole team has given me and would definitely recommend them to anyone who is looking for truly the best lawyers!

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