Whistleblower Representation for PPP Fraud in Florida
Are you aware of fraudulent activities involving the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans in your workplace? Have you witnessed false certifications, misuse of funds, false claims, or other illegal activities undermining this federal aid program?
You’re not alone. As a board-certified expert in employment law, Benjamin Yormak and his team are committed to ensuring whistleblowers are protected from retaliation and receive the compensation they deserve.
If you know about illegal activity and you’re considering reporting it, contact us today for a free consultation.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was established as part of the Coronavirus Aid Act (CARES Act) in 2020. The PPP was a government-funded loan program designed to provide small businesses with loan funds to support and cover payroll costs, hire back employees who may have been laid off, and cover applicable overhead.
Loan applications were administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA), providing economic security for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll during challenging times. The funds could be used for payroll expenses, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities.
However, the paycheck protection program (PPP) has become a target for fraud. Some businesses have exploited loopholes, loan proceeds, and gray areas in the legislation for personal gain, leading to illegal or fraudulent activity undermining the program’s integrity.
PPP Loan Forgiveness
A unique feature of the paycheck protection program was its loan forgiveness provision for small businesses. If certain conditions were met, PPP loans could be fully forgiven. To qualify, the funds had to be used for eligible expenses within a specified period after receiving the loan, and at least 60% of the forgiven amount needed to be used to cover payroll costs.
However, businesses seeking to clear the debt had to provide documentation verifying the number of full-time employees on payroll, pay rates, and payments on eligible mortgage, lease, and utility obligations.
While this provision offered much-needed relief for eligible businesses using their loans appropriately, it also opened up opportunities for paycheck protection program fraud. Some businesses falsely certified that they met the requirements in an attempt to receive undeserved loan forgiveness.
This is where whistleblowers play a crucial role in stopping PPP loan fraud.
The False Claims Act
The False Claims Act (FCA) holds people accountable for defrauding government-funded programs, including the Paycheck Protection Program.
Under the FCA, it is illegal to knowingly submit false claims to the federal government for financial gain. This includes any person or business that deliberately makes a false statement to obtain funds from a government program, including PPP loan fraud.
In the context of PPP loans, businesses commit fraud when they falsely inflate payroll costs, misrepresent the number of employees to earn a larger loan, or fabricate business expenses to obtain loans or loan forgiveness.
The FCA includes considerable provisions that allow PPP loan fraud whistleblowers to file a lawsuit on behalf of the United States.
How to Report PPP Loan Fraud
If you suspect or have evidence of PPP loan fraud, take the right steps:
- Gather evidence: This can include documents, emails, text messages, or anything that could work as proof of fraud with the PPP loan application. The more detailed and concrete your evidence, the stronger your case.
- Schedule a confidential consultation with a whistleblower attorney: An experienced whistleblower attorney like Benjamin Yormak can guide you through the process, help you understand your rights and protections under the law, and ensure your claim is well presented before the justice department.
Qui Tam Lawsuits
With the assistance of your attorney, you can file a Qui Tam Lawsuit under the False Claims Act (FCA). The primary purpose of a Qui Tam Lawsuit is to recover funds for the government that were paid out due to fraudulent claims. This lawsuit is filed confidentially and provides detailed information about the alleged fraud.
After filing, the government will investigate your whistleblower case. During this time, it’s crucial to cooperate fully with investigators and the inspector general with any additional information they may need.
Getting Compensation for Reporting PPP Fraud
One of the significant incentives for PPP loan whistleblowers to come forward is the potential for financial compensation. Under the False Claims Act (FCA), whistleblowers who file a successful Qui Tam Lawsuit may be entitled to a portion of the recovered funds.
This reward for those who report fraud is typically between 15% and 30% of the total recovery, which can amount to substantial compensation, especially in high-value PPP fraud cases where the government recovers significant assets.
Having an expert attorney on your side can be a game changer for PPP loan fraud whistleblowers. At Yormak Employment & Disability Law, we have the expertise and resources to build a strong PPP loan fraud case and maximize your chances of a successful outcome.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
If you’re ready to take a stand against PPP fraud, we’re here to help. Contact Yormak Employment Law today for a free and confidential consultation. We’ll listen, review your evidence, and provide clear guidance on your next steps.
Rest assured that, as a whistleblower, you are protected by whistleblower provisions against retaliation under federal law and may be eligible for significant compensation. Don’t let fear hold you back from doing what is right. Contact us today.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Money Can You Receive for Reporting PPP Loans Fraud?
The financial reward for reporting suspected PPP fraud under the False Claims Act can reach between 15% and 30% of the total recovery. While there’s no guarantee of compensation, successful whistleblowers have received significant rewards for their efforts.
What if My Employer Retaliates?
The law provides remedies for retaliation, including reinstatement and compensation for any damages sustained due to the discrimination. Our firm can help if you find yourself facing retaliation.
When Will My Employer Know I Reported Them?
Your employer will not be immediately notified when you report PPP fraud. Initially, your Qui Tam lawsuit is filed under seal. Your employer won’t be served with the lawsuit or informed of the investigation during this time. If the government decides to proceed with the lawsuit after its investigation, or if the seal is lifted, then your employer will be made aware of the lawsuit and your involvement.