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San Mateo-based software company to pay $1 million for pandemic business loan fraud

PIX Now 6 am 6/13/23
PIX Now 6 am 6/13/23 06:26

San Mateo-based software company Fujisoft Inc. will pay over $1 million for lying to receive a pandemic-related federal relief loan intended for small businesses.

Fujisoft has agreed to pay to resolve allegations that it defied the False Claims Act when it fraudulently applied for, received and retained two loans totaling $400,000, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release.

The Paycheck Protection Program was created by Congress in March 2020 as a part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. Companies who applied were required to prove that they had no more than 500 employees to be eligible for a first draw loan. Applicants were also required to show that they had at least a 25 percent decrease in revenue from 2019 to 2020 and less than 300 employees to receive a second loan.

Despite these requirements, Fujisoft -- which is a publicly-traded company with over 15,000 employees -- applied for and received first and second draw loans, according to the press release. Further, the company's revenue increased during the pandemic, as it went from $1.6 billion in 2019 to $1.7 billion in 2020.

Fujisoft admitted to knowingly falsely certifying that it met the company size and revenue requirements in both of their loan applications, according to the settlement agreement. They will pay a sum of $1,050,000 to the United States, plus interest compounded annually at a rate of 4.72 percent per annum from June 5, 2023, to the date of such payment.

The company was not immediately available for comment.

"PPP loans were intended as economic lifelines for small businesses during the pandemic," said U.S. Attorney Ismail Ramsey in the press release. "It is unacceptable for large companies to claim a portion of this limited pool of PPP funds, which was meant for small businesses, in order to enrich themselves at the expense of the American taxpayer."

Over the past three years, the program has handed out billions of dollars in suspicious relief loans nationwide.

A CBS News Bay Area investigation in July 2020 found San Jose resident Lebnitz Tran received more than $3.6 million in fraudulent payments. Nearly two years later Tran pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud.

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