Smyrna Man Charged with Paycheck Protection Program Fraud | USAO-MDTN
NASHVILLE- A Smyrna, Tennessee man was today charged with money laundering in connection with a fraudulent scheme in which he obtained a small business loan under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) , announced U.S. Attorney Mark Wildasin of the Central District of Tennessee.
Shawn Palmer, 53, the sole owner of Palmers Transportation, Inc., in La Vergne, Tennessee, has been charged in a criminal information, which alleges that in June 2020, Palmer fraudulently applied for and received a PPP loan from an amount of $514,370. .
According to the charging document, in June 2020, Palmer sent several documents to someone who helped him apply for a PPP loan. These documents were then submitted to Kabbage, Inc., a lender approved by the Small Business Administration to provide funds under the program which was designed to directly incentivize small businesses to keep their employees on the payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Palmer’s loan application misrepresented that Palmers Transportation had 27 employees, when in fact he had two, including himself; and although Palmers Transportation’s 2019 tax return indicated that its gross revenues were less than $200,000, the claim incorrectly represented an average monthly payroll of $205,748; gross receipts of $6,744,254.12 for the 2019 taxation year; and said Palmers Transportation had gross salaries of $2,322,567 and $87,311 in state income tax withholdings for the 2019 tax year.
After the loan was approved and deposited into Palmer’s account, the person who helped him complete the loan application texted Palmer asking for $25,000. Palmer used some of the loan proceeds to establish and fund other accounts and used the funds for unauthorized expenses such as the purchase of a 2020 Ford F-350; a Maserati Quattroporte; and a 2020 Freightliner Coronado.
The information also contains an allegation of confiscation in which the government seeks to recover money and property that represents the proceeds of crime.
If convicted, Palmer faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
This matter was investigated by the Small Business Administration-Office of Inspector General; the IRS criminal investigation; and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie N. Toussaint and Special Assistant to U.S. Attorney Anna Haffner are pursuing the case.
The accusation is just an accusation. The accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to mobilize Department of Justice resources in partnership with government agencies to scale up enforcement and prevention efforts. pandemic-related fraud. The task force strengthens efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies administering relief programs to prevent fraud, among other methods, by increasing and integrating coordination mechanisms existing ones, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their agendas, and sharing and leveraging information and knowledge gained from previous enforcement efforts. For more information about the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
Anyone with information about alleged attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via NCDF’s online complaint form at: https://www. .justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
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