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Littleton man accused of illegally obtaining COVID-19 PPP funds

Lawrence Phillip Hernandez obtained $952,819 after fraudulently applying for PPP and EIDL loans, the Justice Department said.
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Handcuffs on the background of dollar bills.

LITTLETON, Colo. — A Littleton man is accused of illegally obtaining $952,819 by submitting a number of fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) loans, the United States Attorney’s Office announced Friday. 

Lawrence Phillip Hernandez, 58, was being charged with wire fraud for taking money that he received as a result of fraudulent PPP and EIDL applications he submitted.

According to a DOJ release, between March 2020 and March 2021, Hernandez allegedly devised and participated in a scheme to defraud the United States and two lenders and to fraudulently obtain money and property.

DOJ said Hernandez presented false representations about his businesses’ gross revenues, costs of goods sold, number of employees, payroll costs, and past spending. He also submitted fabricated tax and financial documents for 2019. 

Hernandez allegedly used a portion of the funds for personal expenses, DOJ said. 

Hernandez obtained $952,819 in loans and grants through his scheme to defraud, including more than $636,000 in PPP loans and $316,800 from the EIDL program, DOJ said. 

Hernandez appeared in court Friday, before Magistrate Judge N. Reid Neureiter.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Denver Division, with assistance from the Small Business Administration-Office of Inspector General, in connection with their work on the Colorado-based EIDL Fraud Task Force. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Craig Fansler and Rebecca Weber.

On March 27, 2020, President Donald Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provided emergency assistance, administered by the United States Small Business Administration (SBA), to small business owners affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

The two primary sources of funding for small businesses were the PPP and EIDL program.

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