Broken Arrow Man, Rafael Maturino Pleads Guilty to Fraudulently Applying for Paycheck Protection Program Forgivable Loan
(STL.News) A Broken Arrow man pleaded guilty for fraudulently applying for a Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loan guaranteed by the Small Business Administration under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson.
Rafael Maturino, 40, of Broken Arrow, pleaded guilty to bank fraud after executing a scheme to defraud First Bank of Owasso when applying for a Paycheck Protection Program loan under false pretenses on April 28, 2020. As part of the plea, the United States and Maturino agreed to a sentence of 12 months and one day of imprisonment and restitution in the amount of $97,800 to be paid to First Bank of Owasso. U.S. District Judge Claire V. Eagan will make the final sentencing determination at a hearing set for June 1, 2021.
“Small businesses employ millions of Americans and are the backbone of our communities. The Paycheck Protection Program is designed to assist legitimate small business owners keep their doors open and Americans employed during the current pandemic,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson. “This office along with the Federal Reserve Board Office of Inspector General, Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General, and the FBI will continue to bring fraudsters, like Maturino, to justice.”
Maturino applied for a Paycheck Protection Program loan on behalf of a company he claimed to own and operate, Maturino Enterprises, Inc. Maturino submitted forms that misrepresented the company’s payroll expenditures, amount of taxes paid, and the number of people employed.
In his plea agreement, Maturino admitted that he falsely represented in a Paycheck Protection Program “Borrower Application Form” submitted to First Bank of Owasso that Maturino Enterprises had an average monthly payroll of $39,152.92; had 5 employees; and was in operation on February 15, 2020. He further represented that he would use the requested loan funds to retain workers and maintain payroll or make mortgage interest payments, lease payments, and utility payments, as specified under the Paycheck Protection Program Rule. Maturino then signed the application form certifying the information was truthful.
The CARES Act is a federal law enacted on March 29, 2020, designed to provide emergency financial assistance to the millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief provided by the CARES Act was the authorization of up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and certain other expenses, through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). In April 2020, Congress authorized over $300 billion in additional PPP funding, and in December 2020, Congress authorized another $284 billion in additional funding.
The PPP allows qualifying small businesses and other organizations to receive loans with a maturity of two years and an interest rate of 1 percent. Paycheck Protection Program loan proceeds must be used by businesses on payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. The PPP allows the interest and principal to be forgiven if businesses spend the proceeds on these expenses within a set period and use a certain percentage of the loan towards payroll expenses.
The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Office of Inspector General; Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General; and FBI are the investigative agencies. Assistant U.S. Attorney Victor A.S. Régal is prosecuting the case.