Pewaukee man pleads guilty to covid-relief fraud scheme of $1.2 million

PEWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) --- A Pewaukee man has pleaded guilty to bank fraud for fraudulently obtaining over $1 million dollars in Paycheck Protection Program loans on Tuesday, Feb. 23.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Thomas Smith, 46, pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud. He obtained the PPP loans through the Small Business Administration under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Officials say Smith admitted he sought over $1.2 million on behalf of eight different companies. 

According to his plea agreement, Smith caused fraudulent loan applications to be submitted that made numerous false and misleading statements about the companies' respective payroll expenses.

A news release stated Smith then directed his co-conspirators to send him portions of the PPP funds within days of receiving them and used the proceeds for personal expenses.

United States District Judge Brett Ludwig scheduled Smith's sentencing for June 2. 

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721

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