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Austin Man Arrested for Fraud Scheme Related to Government Assistance Funding for COVID-19

covid_19-300x166The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas has announced the arrest of Michael George McQuarn of Austin for allegedly defrauding the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program of more than $2 million.

McQuarn was charged with wire fraud and making false statements to the SBA. The press did not name an attorney for him.

According to the criminal complaint, McQuarn is accused of submitting fraudulent applications and paperwork for two fake companies—Vantastic Vogages, LLC and Happy Days Movers, LLC—in order to receive SBA-backed PPP loans. McQuarn’s applications were approved and he purportedly received in excess of $2 million, which were for legitimate business purposes. Records indicate he used the money for personal expenses, including purchasing a Rolls Royce and a Pavati Wake Boat.

“The Paycheck Protection Program was designed to help Americans struggling with financial hardship during the pandemic. Our office will be aggressive in targeting anyone who defrauds this critical program,” said U.S. Attorney John F. Bash.

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a federal assistance program that provides forgivable loads to small businesses for job retention and other business-related expenses. It was funded by a $600 billion emergency fund approved by Congress to help Americans suffering because of the economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

If convicted, McQuarn faces up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud and five years imprisonment for making false statements to the SBA. A complaint is only an accusation of criminal conduct; the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

“The defendant egregiously sought personal gain from a program intended to assist hardworking Americans in this challenging time,” said SBA OIG Central Region Special Agent in Charge Abram. “SBA OIG and its law enforcement partners will aggressively pursue allegations of wrongdoing to maintain the integrity of SBA’s programs. I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners for their dedication and pursuit of justice.”

Several states have announced plans to crack down on fraud related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In South Florida, U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan announced the formation of a task force made up of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, whose goal is to identify and prosecute fraud cases related to the pandemic.

South Florida Fraud Attorney

If you are involved in a fraud case, then you should hire an attorney. Contact Brian Silber, P.A. to set up a free initial consultation and work with one of South Florida’s most experienced fraud attorneys.

Source: 6.18.20 complaint filed against austin man for fraud scheme related to SBA paycheck protection program.pdf

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