A Milwaukee business owner is facing federal charges of providing false information to obtain $176,895 worth of PPP loans, allegedly later using those funds for his own personal expenses.
Larry Hart, owner of Hart of Detailing LLC, a Milwaukee auto detail shop specializing in cleaning vehicles, is charged with two counts of wire fraud related to two different Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans he received.
The United States Small Business Administration oversaw the Paycheck Protection Program, but business owners were able to receive individual loans from private, approved lenders so long as they filled out an application and were approved. The PPP loans were intended to help businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing funds for up to 8 weeks of payrolls costs, including benefits. The funds could also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent and utilities.
A criminal complaint alleges on Aug. 5, Hart received $90,999 from a lender in Atlanta. On Feb. 2, 2021, Hart also received $85,896 from the same lender. Hart allegedly submitted fraudulent PPP loan applications to obtain those loans.
“The defendant falsely claimed that he intended to spend loan proceeds on payroll, lease and mortgage expenses, interest, and utilities,” according to the complaint. “In fact, the loan funds were used for, among other things, personal expenses and other non-business expenses.”
Hart was in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee on Sept. 14 for an initial appearance, during which he entered a not guilty plea. His attorney was not immediately available Thursday for further comment. Hart faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.