Keep on Truckin
Updated: Jun 26
I Recently became friends with my new Client, a Truck Driver. Back in 2020 he had his company incorporated and ready for business. His "tax preparer" and "friend" called him and explained this incredible opportunity to get money from the Federal Government as part of a Covid 19 recovery. The "tax preparer" explained that the PPP loan could be used for your business and could pay for business expenses and payroll for an employee.
My Client, actually from another Country, was here pursuing the American Dream. He trusted his "friend" who had handled his taxes for years. He considered him a very smart person that understood the law here in the U.S.
My Client specifically asked, "Do I need to sign anything, I'm on the road doing a delivery to Tennessee." His friend and "tax preparer" assured him "these guys take care of the whole process, all they need is your IEN Number and they got the rest." Within days, my Client, the sole owner of his own startup trucking business received a call from his friend saying to check his bank account, there should be $100,000.00 from the Federal program.
$100,000.00 dollars! OMG, the Client explained he was in the state of SHOCK. How could this be true? He did not need that much money. He immediately called the tax preparer and explained that this was way too much money. The tax preparer informed him there was no way to give it back and that he had to spend it. And to boot, the guys that obtained the loan for the Client were now demanding their processing fee. A processing fee of 25% of the total loan. A day later, another 50K made its way into the Client's bank account. It was confirmed, the loan processor was demanding 25% of the total $150,000.00 loan amount.
As the FBI sat and listened to my Client explain the above set of circumstances, they appeared frustrated and unbelieving. They began asking questions of my Client. I listened to each question very carefully. As my Client's story went on, the questions were evolving into two and three part questions. I objected and asked the FBI and the AUSA to re-ask the questions. As I sat intently listening, it was obvious the FBI Agent was extremely frustrated. This version of the events was not what he expected and/or had previously heard from other Defendants. Now the questions were leading. (Meaning that the questions posed to my Client were suggesting an answer.) It was no longer, oh so tell me what happened, and tell me what happened next? Now it was, "yes, but you knew that when you saw the email stating that your document had been signed, you understood and knew that the document was a loan application which you signed?!?!"
As my Client began to utter the word ...YEAH...., I jumped in, "WHOA WHOA WHOA, I object to these questions". I immediately stopped the interview. I dragged my Client outside. I advised him of his rights and explained the importance of the words he was about to utter. The words you are about to say may result in you going to prison for years. Lets think this through. Did you ever actually sign an application? Did you know that an application had even been submitted on your behalf? Had you ever reviewed the application? These questions we had gone over before the interview, But under the pressure of a serious federal criminal case, and interview lasting over an hour, my Client was showing signs of exhaustion. He was falling into the trap of just giving the FBI and AUSA what they wanted. Even with the knowledge that he had not knowingly and intelligently defrauded the government out of the loan money.
We re-entered the room. I took control of the meeting. Walked my Client through the questions. Moments later, the federal prosecutor and FBI Agent looked at each other and said together, lets stop the meeting for now. I agreed. We walked out and a few hours later I received a call from the Prosecutor. The prosecutor and I talked for some time and discussed the details of the case and expectations at a trial. The case resolution and case result was incredible. My Client was not going to prison for years. He would be back to work, running his trucking business, on the road again.