Small Business Administration Fraud (PPP Fraud)

The Coronavirus Act, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act is a federal law enacted in March 2020. It was designed to provide emergency financial assistance to Americans suffering the economic effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic. The CARES Act authorized forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and certain other expenses through a program referred to as the Paycheck Protection Program. (“PPP”)

To obtain a PPP loan, a qualifying business must submit a PPP loan application which an authorized representative of the business signs. In the PPP application, the small business must state, among other things, its,

  • average monthly payroll expenses; and
  • number of employees.

These figures are used to calculate the amount of money the small business is eligible to receive under the PPP.

The Small Business Administration is aware that the PPP program risks some individuals submitting fraudulent applications to defraud the Government. For instance, if an applicant purposely inflates his payroll expenses or the number of his employees, he may be subject to prosecution for SBA or PPP fraud.

While this is a new law, the Government has already filed charges against individuals alleging they submitted fraudulent PPP loan applications. As the money allocated is for relief, the Government is zealously investigating potential fraud cases.

There are potential defenses to such charges. The PPP loan application process is complicated, and an honest individual may make mistakes with no criminal intent in completing the paperwork. Additionally, If someone else submits a PPP loan application, and an honest individual is unaware of the fraudulent nature of the application, that individual would have a defense.

Every case is different. Defenses are based on the facts in each scenario. If you are under investigation for SBA or PPP fraud, you should take the matter very seriously and you should have legal representation. I have experience in defending against this kind of investigation.


  • Robert Fickman has been a criminal defense attorney in Houston for 40+ Years.
  • Robert Fickman has handled over 300 Federal Cases.
  • Robert Fickman has kept some clients from being charged in Federal Court.
  • Robert Fickman has obtained the dismissal of some Federal Charges.
  • Robert Fickman has gone to trial in Federal Court and obtained acquittals on all charges for some clients. In 2022, Robert Fickman went to trial in United States v. Rebolledo. Robert Fickman’s client was the ONLY client in the entire case to be acquitted on all charges.
  • Robert Fickman has argued many cases before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Robert Fickman has had an AV Rating (the highest rating) with Martindale Hubbell for over 20 years.
  • Robert Fickman has been named a “Texas Super Lawyer” since 2015.
  • Robert Fickman is well-respected by his peers, and he has received numerous awards.
  • Robert Fickman was the President of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association (HCCLA) from 2006-2007.
  • Robert Fickman is a past Board Member of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (TCDLA).
  • Robert Fickman serves on the HCCLA and TCDLA Strike Forces, where he is called upon to come to the aid of other criminal defense lawyers.