crime:-michigan-man-sentenced-for-covid-19-relief-fraud
/ / / CRIME: Michigan Man Sentenced For COVID-19 Relief Fraud
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CRIME: Michigan Man Sentenced For COVID-19 Relief Fraud

A Michigan man was sentenced to 32 Months in Federal Prison for fraudulently requesting nearly $1,000,000 in Paycheck Protection Program loans (PPP) guaranteed by the Small Business Administration under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES).

Michael Bischoff, 60, of Macomb County, pleaded guilty to bank fraud on Nov. 23, 2020, in the Eastern District of Michigan. According to court documents Bischoff, who was the owner of multiple Macomb County pizza restaurants, admitted to defrauding numerous financial institutions by submitting at most nine falsified PPP loan application that contained false representations about payroll and business expenses as well as the number of employees at his restaurants. Bischoff also submitted forged tax documents and used the personal identifying information of another person to help secure PPP loans. In total, Bischoff fraudulently sought approximately $931,000 in COVID-19 relief funds and received approximately $593,590. In addition to his prison sentence, Bischoff was ordered to serve three years of supervised release, and to pay $593,590 in restitution and a $5,000 fine.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting U.S. attorney Saima Shafiq Mohsin of Eastern District of Michigan; Special agent in charge Kathy A. Enstrom of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Office of Inspector General; Special agent in charge Sharon Johnson of SBA’s Office of Inspector General Central Region; and Special agent in charge Douglas Zloto of U.S. Secret Service’s Detroit Field Office made announcement.

The FDIC-OIG and the SBA-OIG investigated the case.

Trial attorney Philip B. Trout of Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, Trial Attorney Chad M. Davis of Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section and Assistant U.S. Justice John K. Neal of Eastern District of Michigan investigated the case.

The Fraud Section is responsible for prosecuting fraud schemes that exploit PPP. The Fraud Section has prosecuted more 100 suspects in criminal cases than 70 since the PPP was founded. Fraud Section also seizes more than $65 millions in cash proceeds from fraudulently obtained PPP money, as well as many real estate properties and luxury goods purchased with such proceeds. More information can be found at https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/ppp-fraud.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force supports efforts to prosecute and investigate the most culpable international and domestic criminal actors. It also assists agencies charged with administering relief programs to stop fraud. This includes, among other things, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanism, identifying resources, techniques to uncover fraudulent actors, and sharing information and insights from previous enforcement efforts. For more information on the department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.

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