Pandemic Duplicity

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Businessperson Hand Giving Cheque In Office At White Desk

Covid-19 has been challenging, to say the least, for many people over the last two years. While some individuals have used these unfortunate circumstances to improve their lives, others have taken advantage of the unfortunate situation to boost their bank accounts. One such deceptive person is Eric R. Shibley, a Seattle, Wash., doctor who was convicted for fraudulently seeking more than $3.5 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) COVID-19 relief funds.

Shibley ran an elaborate scam that involved submitting multiple fraudulent Covid-19 relief fund loan applications to federally insured financial institutions and other Small Business Administration-approved lenders. He applied for the pandemic-related loans using multiple business names with no actual operations. (Did he really think no one would check on the validity of the information submitted?)

In the loan applications, Shibley falsified the number of employees and payroll expenses, while concealing his own criminal history at the same time. He also submitted fake tax documents to support the applications. (But the alleged employees’ names he used did not actually work at the businesses. Because they actually did not exist.) Shibley received a cool $2.8 million in COVID-19 relief funds as a result of the scheme.

A federal jury found Shibley guilty, convicting him of multiple counts of wire fraud and bank fraud, and money laundering. When sentenced, Shibley faces 20 years for each count of wire fraud, 30 years for each count of bank fraud, and 10 years for money laundering. (Let’s hope justice will be served to this pandemic fraudster who thought he could get away with duplicitous behavior.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a Department of Justice press release, “Seattle Doctor Found Guilty of Fraudulently Obtaining Millions of Dollars from COVID-19 Relief Programs,” dated November 19, 2021. 

A federal jury convicted a Seattle doctor yesterday of fraudulently seeking over $3.5 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) COVID-19 relief funds.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Eric R. Shibley, 41, of Seattle, submitted several fraudulent PPP and EIDL loan applications to federally insured financial institutions, other Small Business Administration (SBA)-approved lenders, and the SBA, in the names of businesses with no actual operations or by otherwise misrepresenting the business’s eligibility. In the applications, Shibley falsified the number of employees and payroll expenses and concealed his own criminal history. To support the fraudulent applications, Shibley submitted fake tax documents and the names of purported employees who did not, in fact, work for the businesses for which Shibley claimed they worked. Shibley received over $2.8 million in COVID-19 relief funds as a result of the fraud.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.