Austin man arrested for allegedly defrauding small business loan program amid COVID-19 pandemic

Michael McQuarn allegedly submitted fraudulent requests to secure loans and buy himself a boat and a Rolls Royce.

AUSTIN, Texas – An Austin man was arrested Thursday for allegedly defrauding the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) over $ 2 million.

Federal officials say Michael George McQuarn, 51, of Austin, submitted fraudulent claims in April 2020 for two shell companies he created – Vantastic Voyages, LLC and Happy Days Movers, LLC – to obtain loans PPP supported by the SBA.

According to the US Attorney’s Office, McQuarn claimed the funds were for legitimate business purposes, when in fact the money was used for his personal use, including the purchase of a 26-inch Pavati Wake Boat. feet and a Rolls Royce. It is alleged that McQuarn fraudulently received a surplus of $ 2 million in PPP funds.

“The Paycheque Protection Program was designed to help Americans struggling financially during the pandemic. Our office will be aggressive in targeting anyone defrauding this essential program, ”said US Attorney John F. Bash.

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If convicted, McQuarn faces up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud and up to five years for making false statements to the SBA.

The investigation is being conducted by the SBA OIG, IRS-CI, FDIC-OIG, TIGTA and the Texas Attorney General’s Office. Assistant U.S. prosecutors Matthew Devlin, Michael Galdo and Robert Almonte are pursuing the case on behalf of the government.

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This year, the United States Congress authorized more than $ 600 billion in emergency financial assistance for people suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic. PPP funds have been made available to small businesses for job retention and other expenses such as rent and utilities.

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