Milwaukee man pleads guilty to fraud in obtaining PPP loans

Steven Smith, 42, of Milwaukee has pleaded guilty to federal bank fraud for his role in fraudulently obtaining over $600,000 in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Acting U.S. Attorney Richard G. Frohling of the Eastern District of Wisconsin and Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division announced the plea earlier this week.

According to court documents, Smith admitted that he fraudulently sought over $600,000 in PPP loans through applications to an insured financial institution on behalf of three 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. 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.

Smith is scheduled to be sentenced today and faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.

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Andrew Weiland is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, Weiland is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, and son, Zachary. He is an avid sports fan and enjoys coaching his son’s youth baseball and basketball teams.

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