SANTA ANA, California – A trucking company owner in the Inner Empire and other parts of California who was on bail awaiting trial in a separate federal criminal case was arrested today in a criminal lawsuit alleging that he fraudulently received more than $ 667,000 under the Salary Protection Program (PPP). COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Funds.
Carl Bradley Johansson, 62, of Newport Beach, was arrested this morning and is charged with one count of banking fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit banking fraud. He is expected to appear for the first time this afternoon at the US District Court in Santa Ana.
Johansson was in pre-trial detention in a separate case, which is due to appear in court on September 14. In this case, Johansson allegedly conspired to violate federal transportation laws by ordering the illegal repair of an oil tanker that caused the fatal explosion. in 2014 and illegally evaded federal income tax payments of at least $ 298,562 from 2012 to 2017.
In April 2020, Ontario-based trucking company Western Distribution LLC applied for a $ 436,390 PPP loan at Johansson’s direction, according to the affidavit filed for the complaint disclosed today. 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, mostly on non-payroll expenses. 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 affidavit. … 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.
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. , asserted in affidavit. This allegedly happened shortly before the closing of the company’s 24-week window for spending PPP funds.
As a result of this ploy, Western Distribution LLC could falsely claim in its January 2021 PPP loan forgiveness application that the company had met the required threshold, according to which at least 60 percent of the PPP loan was spent on the payroll, according to the affidavit.
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.
The complaint contains allegations that the defendant has committed a crime. Each accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
If Johansson is found guilty on both charges, he faces a maximum federal prison sentence of up to 70 years.
The IRS Criminal Investigations and the Department of Transportation – The Inspector General’s Office investigated the matter.
US Assistant Attorney Joseph O. Jones and Matthew W. O’Brien of the Environmental and Public Safety Crimes Section are prosecuting this case.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Task Force to mobilize the resources of the Department of Justice, in partnership with government departments, to intensify efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force supports efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors, and helps agencies tasked with managing assistance programs to prevent fraud, inter alia, by expanding and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and methods to identify fraudsters and fraudsters. schemes, and the exchange and use of information and ideas from previous compliance efforts. For more information on the Department’s response to the pandemic, visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus…
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted COVID-19 fraud can report it by calling the National Center for Disaster Management of Frauds (NCDF) of the U.S. Department of Justice at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF complaint web form at https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form…