Woman pleads guilty to Bilking bank over $ 500,000 in PPP loans

TAMPA, FL – A 52-year-old woman in Temple Terrace has pleaded guilty to submitting false information to secure more than half a million dollars in federal small business loans for business owners affected by the coronavirus.

Bridgitte Keim faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg said Monday that between April and May, Keim had carried out a scheme to defraud a bank and the US Small Business Administration by submitting fraudulent loan applications and supporting documents to qualify for federally guaranteed payment protection program loans. The loans are designed to help businesses suffering the negative economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Handberg said Keim recruited family members to provide their personal information in exchange for free “COVID money”. Keim prepared and submitted fraudulent PPP loan applications to the Anonymous Bank on behalf of his relatives on behalf of fictitious businesses, knowing that his relatives did not own these businesses, had no employees, had no income. business and no payroll charges as required by the SBA to qualify for PPP loans.

To further deceive the bank, Handberg said Keim created email addresses on behalf of his relatives and communicated with bank employees posing as relatives to convince loan officers that they were communicating with them. potential borrowers.

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Additionally, Keim sent text messages containing fictitious business names, fake financial information, and email addresses she created to loved ones so loved ones could answer loan officers’ questions about loan applications.

In one case, on March 21, Keim submitted an application for a PPP loan to the bank on behalf of a relative she had recruited. The application contained a fictitious business name, fictitious number of employees, falsified business income, and fraudulently claimed that the PPP loan funds would be used for payroll.

Based on these false statements, the bank approved a PPP loan of $ 20,833 on behalf of Keim’s relative. Keim then embezzled $ 7,500 of the loan proceeds from his personal bank account, Handberg said.

The expected losses associated with Keim’s bank fraud scheme total $ 588,693.14.

This matter was investigated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency – Office of the Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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