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February 27, 2023

Tax Preparer Indicted in Paycheck Protection Program Loan Scheme

On December 6, 2022, in the Western District of Tennessee, Lisa Evans was indicted for Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud and knowingly making a False Statement to Federally Insured Bank.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was designed to provide emergency financial assistance to the millions of Americans who were and are suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief that the CARES Act provided was forgivable loans to small businesses through a program referred to as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

According to the court documents, Evans, who owned and operated a business known as USA Taxes, and co-conspirator Kevin Shaw, participated in a scheme in May and June of 2020 to defraud Celtic Bank by obtaining a fraudulent PPP loan in the amount of approximately $786,212. The scheme was for Evans and Shaw to obtain money from the PPP for their own personal benefit. Evans assisted Shaw in preparing a fraudulent PPP application to submit for his business, Freight Master's Group Inc. (FMG), to Celtic Bank. Then in furtherance of the scheme, Evans provided Shaw with false Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 941, Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return, for his PPP application. They both made false statements on the application concerning FMG’s number of employees and its payroll amount. 

Shaw received approximately $786,212 in PPP loan proceeds from Celtic Bank, which were deposited into Shaw’s account at Bank of America. Shaw then transferred approximately $220,800 to Evans’s account at Regions Bank as a kickback fee in return for Evans’s assistance in obtaining the fraudulent PPP loan. To further the scheme, Shaw transferred an additional $42,000 to Evan’s account. Evans and Shaw then spent this money for their own personal purposes rather than for payroll, mortgage interest, rent, or utilities for FMG.

If convicted, Evans could receive a maximum term of 30 years’ imprisonment for each count.

Source:  The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available document: W.D. Tenn., Indict., filed Dec. 6, 2022.