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Kentucky man admits to coronavirus loan fraud scheme


LONDON, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky man has been sentenced to two years and nine months in prison for using false pretenses to accept $370,000 in paycheck protection loans under a federal COVID-19 assistance program.

David Christopher Lewis, 49, was sentenced in federal court last week for his guilty plea to wire fraud. He also was ordered to pay full restitution.

Lewis, who lives in Harlan County, obtained paycheck protection loans for two businesses that were guaranteed by the Small Business Administration under the CARES Act, which provided emergency financial assistance to Americans hit by the economic impact caused by the pandemic. The SBA would forgive the loans if the borrower established that the proceeds were used for payroll, rent or other approved business expenses.

In his plea agreement, Lewis admitted he submitted fraudulent applications in May 2020 for loans on behalf of businesses related to a Comic Con-style event that he had organized in previous years.

Evidence submitted at his sentencing hearing showed that Lewis paid himself or his wife more than $100,000 of the loan money. Lewis also admitted in his plea agreement to lying in a sworn affidavit about the existence and whereabouts of the businesses’ employment and payroll records.

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