Watch CBS News

Commerce Township man sentenced over 2 years for COVID-19 pandemic fraud scheme

CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for Dec. 6, 2023
CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for Dec. 6, 2023 04:00

DETROIT, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - Ryan T. Carruthers, 42, a Commerce Township resident was sentenced to a little over two years in prison on Dec. 5 for defrauding the Small Business Administration and other banks, according to United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison.

Carruthers defrauded the victims out of about $851,000 as part of a pandemic relief fraud scheme, according to Ison. 

Carruthers also has to pay $851,963 in restitution to his victims. 

 In August, Carruthers pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.

The guilty plea came from Carruthers' participation in a wide-ranging scheme to get loans that he was not entitled to from two pandemic relief programs overseen by the Small Business Administration, Ison said. 

Around April 2020, Carruthers started to submit electronic applications for pandemic relief loans in the names of various business entities that he said he owned, according to plea documents. 

Between April 2020 and April 2021, Carruthers submitted numerous loan applications through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), according to Ison. 

It is a SBA-administered program that provides forgivable loans to businesses to encourage them to keep workers employed during the pandemic. 

Carruthers also submitted a loan application under the SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL), a program that provided low-interest financing to businesses adversely affected by the pandemic, Ison said. 

The PPP loan applications were submitted to various participating lenders of the program, while the EIDL loan application went directly to the SBA, according to Ison. 

The loan applications contained many material misrepresentations and false statements, plea documents show. 

Carruthers's business entities were not real, and only existed on paper, according to Ison.    

He claimed in the applications that each of the entities had between three and 15 employees, Ison said. 

The average monthly payroll amounts included in the applications were fake, as were representations about how the money would be spent, according to the Department of Justice. 

Carruthers spent the money on personal investments and expenses, including buying a personal watercraft, according to court documents. 

"Ryan Carruthers stole nearly a million dollars from programs intended to help our economy stay afloat during an unprecedented public health emergency," Ison said. "This prosecution reflects the seriousness with which my office takes this sort of fraud, and we will continue to pursue accountability for all of those who enrich themselves at the public's expense."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.