Kingdom City business owner sentenced to prison for $673K CARES Act fraud

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A Kingdom City, Mo., business owner was sentenced in federal court for fraudulently receiving more than $673,000 in loans for several businesses under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Scott Allen Maples, 40, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes to 18 months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Maples to pay $684,034 in restitution to the Small Business Administration.

On Feb. 7, 2023, Maples pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud. Maples admitted that he fraudulently applied for and received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for several businesses. When Maples applied for PPP loans, he reported exaggerated and inaccurate payroll expenses and submitted fabricated and altered bank statements and tax forms. Under the CARES Act, both the principal and interest on those loans were eligible for forgiveness if the loan money was spent for permissible expenses (such as payroll, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities) and a requisite portion of the loan went towards payroll expenses.

After submitting five fraudulent loan applications, Maples received a total of $673,127.04 in loan proceeds.

Maples admitted that he submitted a loan application to Square, Inc., a company authorized to issue PPP loans, on May 6, 2020, on behalf of Area 23, LLC, claiming 21 employees and an average monthly payroll of $69,548. Maples submitted fabricated documents to support the loan application. He received a $173,872 loan. Maples also submitted a loan application to US Bank on May 15, 2020, for the same business, Area 23, making the same claims of employees and payroll and again including fabricated documents to support the loan application. Maples again received a $173,872 loan.

Maples also received a $51,750 PPP loan for Maples Enterprises through Square. In the loan application, Maples indicated that six employees were earning a total of $20,700 per month on average. In reality, Department of Labor records reflected that only one employee was earning $182.50 in the first quarter of 2019. Another business, Clearance Depot, received a $270,632 PPP loan. Maples submitted statements in support of this loan that were later found to be altered and incorrect.

Maples also submitted an application for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan seeking $30,000. This loan also contained suspected misrepresentations that overstated the prior year’s revenues. Maples received a $3,000 advance on this loan, but the loan that he sought was not issued.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren E. Kummerer. It was investigated by the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the FDIC Office of Inspector General, and IRS-Criminal Investigation.

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