Two men convicted of Paycheck Protection Program fraud | USAO-WDMI

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GREAT RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced that David Kurbanov of Wyoming, Michigan, and James Williams of Dacula, Georgia, were sentenced to 36 months and 33 months in prison, respectively, followed by 3 years of probation, by Judge of American District Jane Beckering. Kurbanov and Williams both previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering by concealment.

In 2020, law enforcement investigated Kurbanov, Williams, and others regarding certain CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications and loans. The investigation found that between June 2020 and December 2020, Kurbanov and Williams conspired with each other and others to fraudulently obtain PPP loans from the Small Business Administration. Williams advised Kurbanov on how to obtain a PPP loan for Kurbanov’s non-operating companies and helped Kurbanov prepare forged tax documents submitted with PPP loan applications. Kurbanov and another person eventually secured $1,495,067 in PPP loan funds. To date, law enforcement has seized and recovered more than $1,123,567 attributable to PPP funds fraudulently obtained through a parallel civil asset forfeiture action.

During sentencing, Judge Beckering noted that Kurbanov took out not just one loan, but two loans, which were funded to help financially desperate families and small businesses during the pandemic. She also noted the importance of discouraging others from participating in such programs in the future. Both Kurbanov and Williams were ordered to pay $1,495,067 in restitution.

US Attorney Birge said: “These individuals sought to illegally profit from a program designed to help small businesses hard hit by the pandemic. Like most “get-rich-quick schemes”, their greedy actions ultimately did not pay off. Those who, like Mr. Kurbanov and Mr. Williams, attempt to acquire wealth through illegal means will come to our attention and risk jail time.

“By illegally taking money from the Paycheck Protection Program, these defendants harmed small business owners and employees struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Josh Hauxhurst, Acting Special Agent in FBI charge in Michigan. “The FBI is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to investigate and hold accountable anyone who takes advantage of a global health crisis to line their pockets.”

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonathan C. Roth and Kristin M. Pinkston and investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Federal Bureau of Investigations, and Drug Enforcement Administration.

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