A Chicago-area businessman has been indicted on federal charges for making fraudulent claims to the government in order to bilk COVID relief money from the fund. Carlos Smith, 56, of Park Forest, Illinois is charged with fraudulently obtaining $420,000 in small business loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL). Both programs were created under the CARES Act. Smith has been charged with two counts of wire fraud, one count of making false statements to a financial institution, and one count of money laundering.
The Alleged Fraud
Federal investigators say that Smith applied for a $270,000 loan from the PPP for his company CLS Financial. In the loan application documents, Smith indicated that his company had 61 employees and an average monthly payroll of $108,000. But the company had no employees at all, let alone payroll. Smith also lied about having been convicted of a felony in the past.