Owner of trucking companies accused of fraudulently obtaining USD 667,000 in PPP loans in connection with COVID-19

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Owner of trucking companies in the Inner Empire and other countries. California, who was on bail awaiting trial in a separate federal criminal case, was arrested Thursday in a criminal case alleging that he fraudulently obtained more than $ 667,000 in Payroll Protection Program (PPP) Loans to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Carl Bradley Johansson, 62, of Newport Beach, has been charged with one count of banking fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit banking fraud. He is expected to appear in court for the first time Thursday afternoon at the US District Court in Santa Ana.

According to federal authorities, Johansson was in pretrial detention in a separate case, which is due to appear in court on September 14. In this matter, Johansson allegedly conspired to violate federal shipping laws by ordering an illegal oil tanker repair that led to a fatal explosion in 2014 and illegally evaded federal income tax payments of at least $ 298,562 from 2012 to 2017.

PROPOSED:

Investigators said that in April 2020, under Johansson’s leadership, Ontario-based trucking company Western Distribution LLC applied for a $ 436,390 PPP loan. Johansson’s son was listed as the owner of the company in the loan application and the loan application was approved.

Under Johansson’s leadership, Western Distribution LLC immediately spent PPP funds in May and June 2020, most of it on non-payroll expenses, according to an affidavit released Thursday. Rather than using the funds to retain the company’s employees, Johansson laid off most of the company’s employees, but hired many in late 2020.

Also in April 2020, another Johansson-controlled cargo company, a Merced County business identified in the affidavit as Company A, applied to another federally insured bank for its own $ 286,505 PPP loan. , according to written testimony. … Johansson’s 85-year-old mother was listed as the owner of Company A in her PPP loan application, which was approved for $ 286,500.

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To give the impression that Western Distribution LLC spent more of its PPP loan on wages than it actually did, Johansson transferred 21 of Company A’s employees to Western Distribution LLC wages in September 2020, although these employees had never worked for Western. Distribution, LLC. , stated in affidavit. This allegedly happened shortly before the closing of the company’s 24-week window for spending PPP funds.

According to the affidavit, as a result of the ruse, Western Distribution LLC could have falsely claimed in its January 2021 PPP loan forgiveness application that the company had met the required spending threshold of at least 60 percent of the PPP payroll loan.

In March 2021, Johansson allegedly forced Western Distribution LLC to repeat the same fraudulent statements regarding its employee listings and payroll numbers when the company applied for a second PPP loan, this time for $ 231,527. The second loan application was approved.

The total alleged loss in this case is approximately $ 667,917.

If Johansson is found guilty on both charges, he faces a maximum federal prison sentence of up to 70 years.

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