ST. LOUIS — Two people accused of fraud involving the Paycheck Protection Program and the Missouri Small Business Grant Program are now facing federal grand jury indictment charges.
Both defendants allegedly submitted fraudulent PPP loan applications and a fraudulent Missouri Small Business Grant Program application. On the applications, they exaggerated the number of employees and payroll costs of various businesses they operated in order to receive over $700,000 in loan payments.
The federal grand jury indicted one defendant with four counts of wire fraud, one count of bank fraud, one count of theft of government property, and five counts of aggravated identity theft.
The indictment charges the other defendant with one count of wire fraud and one count of theft of government property.
The case was investigated by the FBI.
The Paycheck Protection Program gave over $600 billion in loans to help businesses stay afloat when government measures to control the coronavirus forced many to shut down or operate at a diminished capacity.
The Missouri Small Business Grant Program provided grants to small businesses and family-owned farms to help reimburse costs as business was interrupted by coronavirus closures.
The penalty for obtaining money by false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises is up to 30 years in prison.
Something similar happened earlier this year when the owner of an O'Fallon, Illinois, plumbing company admitted to lying on his Paycheck Protection Program application to illegally obtain nearly $500,000 in federal loans in 2020.
Jason Spengler, 45, pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of making a false statement on a federal loan application.
He was sentenced to three years of probation.