Novi man charged in connection with federal wire fraud scheme

Fraud involved $3.1 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans

Handcuffs (WDIV)

A Novi man was arrested and charged in a wire fraud scheme involving $3.1 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Michigan, 44-year-old Antonio George is charged in a criminal complaint with one count of wire fraud.

The complaint alleged that George “was the nexus in obtaining approximately $3.1 million in PPP loans through applications to insured financial institutions, and others, on behalf of 19 different companies,” read a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

George allegedly provided false documents on certain companies’ operations and payroll expenses. One of the companies had allegedly not been in operation since 2015.

The PPP loan is guaranteed by Small Business Administration under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES Act).

“Small businesses across Michigan have received loans from the Paycheck Protection Program, and these loans have kept these businesses alive,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider in the release. “Every dollar stolen from the program is a dollar stolen from struggling businesses in need. So to the scammers, if you think law enforcement isn’t paying attention to the damage you’re doing to Michigan business owners, you’re dead wrong and we will be coming after you.”

About the Author:

DeJanay Booth joined WDIV as a web producer in July 2020. She previously worked as a news reporter in New Mexico before moving back to Michigan.