A man from Smyrna, Tennessee was charged with Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) fraud, the US Attorney’s office for Middle Tennessee said in a Friday statement.
Shawn Palmer, who is the sole owner of Palmers Transportation, Inc. applied for and received a PPP loan of $514,370, some of which he used to buy a Maserati Quattroporte, a 2020 Freightliner Coronado, and a 2020 Ford F-350, government attorneys allege.
According to a DOJ statement, Palmer sent documents to an individual in June 2020 who assisted him to apply for a PPP loan. The documents were then sent to Kabbage, Inc. which was “a lender approved by the Small Business Administration to provide funds under the program which was designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Palmer’s loan allegedly stated he had 27 employees in his company, when, according to prosecutors, he only had two, including himself. Palmer allegedly also claimed his company’s gross revenue was less than $200,000.
“The application falsely represented an average monthly payroll of $205,748; gross receipts of $6,744,254.12 for tax year 2019; and represented that Palmers Transportation had gross wages of $2,322,567 and $87,311 in state income tax withholdings for the tax year 2019,” the DOJ press release said.
After the loan was approved and deposited into his account, Palmer “used portions of the loan proceeds to establish and fund other accounts and used the funds for non-authorized expenditures” including the three vehicles.
The individual who assisted Palmer in allegedly falsifying documents sent him a text requesting $25,000.
According to the press release, the government is trying “to recover money and property which represent the proceeds of the crime.”
The Tennessee Star previously reported that the Small Business Administration (SBA) was not taking action against partners who issued fraudulent PPP loans. To date, congress has approved almost $1 trillion for PPP loans and approximately 15 percent had been obtained fraudulently.
According to the SBA, the agency has “conducted more than 65,000 manual loan reviews to identify potential noncompliance with eligibility requirements, fraud, or abuse. Approximately 5,000 of these manual loan reviews have been dispositioned as Requiring Further Analysis (RFA) due to potential fraud or ineligibility.”
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