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Man Pleads Guilty To Lying To Get $1.2 Million COVID-19 Relief Loans

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A 46-year-old Wisconsin man pleaded guilty on Tuesday fraudulently obtaining more than $1.2 million in COVID-19 relief loans, the Justice Department said in a press release.

Thomas Smith admitted to lying about payroll expenses for eight different companies in order to receive more than $1.2 million of the relief, his guilty plea said, according to the press release.

Smith admitted to receiving a share of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds from the companies involved in the plot and used the money towards “personal expenses.” (RELATED: White House Rolls Out 10 Key Changes To Paycheck Protection Program—Here’s What You Need To Know)

Smith pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud and is scheduled for sentencing June 2, according to the press release.

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 01: A bipartisan group of Democrat and Republican members of Congress as they announce a proposal for a Covid-19 relief bill on Capitol Hill on December 01, 2020 in Washington, DC. The roughly $908 billion proposal includes $288 billion in small business aid such as Paycheck Protection Program loans, $160 billion in state and local government relief and $180 billion to fund a $300 per week supplemental unemployment benefit through March, according to a draft framework. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

A bipartisan group of Democrat and Republican members of Congress as they announce a proposal for a Covid-19 relief bill on Capitol Hill on December 01, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

The PPP was included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which distributed over $2 trillion to aid hospitals, workers and people needing help in the U.S. The CARES Act was effective on March 29, 2020 to help “millions of Americans” affected by the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the press release.

Congress approved the PPP to assist small business owners in paying rent and paying their workers.

A Florida man pleaded guilty on Feb. 10 for using fraudulently accessed PPP funds to buy a Lamborghini, officials announced in another Justice Department press release.

The Justice Department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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