Woman Pleads Guilty To Bilking Bank Out Of $500,000 In PPP Loans

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

Bridget Kim faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison. No date has been set for the verdict.

US Attorney Roger B. Handberg said Monday, between April and May, Keim carried out a scheme to defraud a bank and the US Small Business Administration by submitting fraudulent loan applications and supporting documentation to qualify for Federally Secured Payment Protection Program loans. The loans are designed to help businesses suffering from the negative economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Handberg said Keim enlisted family members to provide their personal information in exchange for free “COVID money.” Kim prepared PPP loan applications and submitted them to an unnamed bank on behalf of her relatives in the names of fictitious companies, knowing that her relatives do not own these companies, have no employees, have no business income and no salary expenses as required by the Small Business Agency to qualify For public-private partnership loans.

To further deceive the bank, Handberg said Kim created email addresses in the names of her relatives and communicated with bank employees by impersonating her relatives to convince loan officers that they were reaching out to potential borrowers.

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In addition, Kim sent text messages containing fake business names, fake financial information, and email addresses she created to her relatives so that her relatives could answer loan officers’ questions about loan applications.

In one case, on March 21, Kim submitted a PPP loan application to the bank in the name of a relative she had recruited. The app included a fake business name, fake number of employees, fake business income and fraudulently provided that PPP loan money would be used for payroll.

Based on these false statements, the bank approved a PPP loan of $20,833 in the name of a relative of Keim. Handberg said Kim then transferred $7,500 of the loan proceeds to her personal bank account.

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

This case was investigated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency – Office of the Inspector General and the FBI.

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