Two Tennessee business owners have been charged with defrauding the federal COVID-19 small business relief program of more than $780,000, authorities said.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Memphis said Lisa Evans, owner of USA Taxes, and Kevin Shaw, owner of Freight Masters Inc., have been charged with conspiring to commit bank fraud and making false statements to a federally insured bank. Both businesses are based in Memphis.
Evans and Shaw are accused of filing false documents to take advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program, which provided emergency financial help to small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The amount of a loan that a business may have received was determined by the number of employees and amount of payroll it had. Prosecutors said the pair submitted a fake application for Shaw’s business to a bank participating in the PPP program.
Evans is accused of giving Shaw fake Internal Revenue Service documents to support his application and then taking a kickback after Shaw received $786,202, prosecutors said Friday.
Each of the charges carries a penalty of up to 30 years in prison upon conviction. Online court records did not show if Evans and Shaw had lawyers to speak on their behalf Friday.
Republished with permission from The Associated Press.