ATLANTA – A Georgia man has been sentenced to one year and nine months in federal prison for obtaining nearly a half million dollars through fraudulent pandemic relief loan applications.
Maurice Lawson, 39, of Lithia Springs also will be on supervised release for three years after completing his sentence and has been ordered to pay more than $435,000 in restitution.
Lawson pleaded guilty in May to applying for at least seven loans for six different businesses between April 2020 and May 2021. He sought the loans through the Paycheck Protection and Economic Injury Disaster Loan programs.
The applications contained an assortment of false information, including false tax forms, fake Social Security cards, fraudulent addresses, falsified payroll claims, and false claims of employing between five and 12 workers, according to U.S. Attorney Ryan Buchanan. Lawson sought $537,120 in loan proceeds and received $419,020, Buchanan said.
“Congress enacted the Paycheck Protection Program to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans suffering the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Buchanan said. “[Lawson’s] crimes [will] make it harder for the United States to provide disaster relief during the next large-scale emergency.”
Among the businesses Lawson used to seek loans was Coastal Drape LLC, the same company he used to commit mortgage fraud, for which he was sentenced in March 2021 to three years of federal probation. He received funds from one of the fraudulent pandemic relief loan applications days after being sentenced for mortgage fraud.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General and the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Office of Inspector General.