The owner of a New Jersey pawn shop has settled allegations related to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.
Pawnshop owner settles PPP loan fraud case
Daniel Markus, the owner of the pawnshop, has agreed to pay $50,000 in civil penalties to resolve allegations the company violated the False Claims Act and the Financial Institutions in obtaining more than one PPP loan in 2020 Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA).
History repeats the importance of honesty and transparency when applying for PPP loans and any type of business grant or loan. False and fraudulent claims for loans like PPPs, which have proven invaluable during the COVID-19 pandemic in helping small businesses with cash flow and other expenses, can significantly damage a business and its reputation.
Providing critical relief to small businesses
Describing the importance of this type of loan, Brian Boynton, Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Chief of the Civil Division at the Justice Department: “PPP loans should provide significant relief to small businesses.
“The department is committed to prosecuting those who knowingly violated the requirements of the PPP or other COVID-19 relief programs and have received relief funds to which they were not entitled,” Boynton added.
PPP loans were launched in March 2020 under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. CARES was formed to provide emergency financial assistance to Americans suffering economically due to the COVID-19 health crisis.
Through CARES, billions of dollars in forgivable loans have been approved for small businesses struggling to pay employees and other business expenses.
Businesses can only apply for a PPP loan
During 2020, it was clarified that companies applying for PPP could not receive more than one loan before December 31, 2020.
In the case of Daniel Markus and his pawn shop, the settlement resolved allegations that Markus knowingly and unlawfully obtained and retained a second, duplicate PPP loan in 2020.
The COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force was established by the Attorney General on May 17, 2021. It was created to pool the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to increase efforts to combat and prevent fraud related to COVID-19. 19 pandemic.
The settled lawsuit involving Daniel Markus shows that the Justice Department will identify companies that have taken advantage of the bailout program.
Honesty is important to create small business success
The case underscores the importance of maintaining honesty in every aspect of running a small business. While defrauding a lending program set up by Congress to provide a lifeline for small businesses in tough times may be an extreme move undertaken by a small number of companies, the lawsuit underscores the value of honesty in building and maintaining a solid business reputation.
Honesty sets the tone for a culture people want to work in and builds loyalty and trust in customers and prospects.
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