Covid-19 Relief Fraud – Seattle Dr. Nabbed for $3.3 Million Fraudulent PPP Loans
SEATTLE – Financial fraud was at the fore when Dr. Eric R. Shibley (41) of Seattle, Washington was
arrested and taken into custody, alleging that he fraudulently sought over $3 million in Paycheck
Protection Program (PPP) loans.
Charges in the June 30th criminal complaint for Dr. Shibley’s initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Michelle L. Peterson, unsealed upon his arrest, include one count of wire fraud and one count of bank fraud.
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. SBA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG), the FBI, the
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation OIG, the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, IRS-Criminal Investigation, and the Department of Health and Human Services OIG investigated the case.
Prosecuting, are Trial Attorneys Laura Connelly and Amanda R. Vaughn of the Criminal Division’s
Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Werner of the Western District of Washington.
Shibley allegedly had “submitted several fraudulent PPP loan applications to federally-insured financial institutions, other U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)-approved lenders, and the SBA in the names of businesses with no actual operations, or by misrepresenting the business’s eligibility,” said ICE’s HSI. “In the applications, Shibley allegedly misrepresented the number of employees and payroll expenses in several applications and concealed his own criminal history.”
Additionally, reported ICE’s HSI, “To support the fraudulent applications, the complaint alleges that
Shibley submitted fake tax documents and the names of purported employees who did not, in fact, work for the businesses for which Shibley claimed they worked. The complaint alleges that Shibley
fraudulently sought over $3 million in PPP loans.”
The CARES Act, enacted into federal law on March 29th, provides emergency financial assistance to
millions of Americans suffering the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief,
the authorization of up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and certain other expenses through the PPP, began In April 2020 when Congress authorized over $300 billion in additional PPP funding.
Qualifying small businesses and other organizations receive loans with a maturity of two years and an
interest rate of one percent. Businesses must use PPP loan proceeds for payroll costs, interest on
mortgages, rent and utilities.
PPP allows the interest and principal to be forgiven if businesses spend the proceeds on those expenses within a set time period and use at least a certain percentage of the loan toward payroll expenses.
HSI launched Operation Stolen Promise in April to prevent and investigate illegal criminal activity
surrounding the pandemic, strengthen global supply-chain security and protect the American public.
Operation Stolen Promise combines HSI’s expertise in global trade, financial fraud, international
operations and cyber-crime to investigate financial fraud schemes, the importation of prohibited
pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, websites defrauding consumers, and any other illicit criminal
activities associated with the virus that compromises legitimate trade or financial systems or endangers the public.
While the Seattle Dr. has been charged with COVID-19 relief fraud for financial crimes, a criminal
complaint is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
ICE encourages individuals across the globe to report suspicious criminal activity to the HSI Tip Line,
toll-free, at 1-866-347-2423. Tips about the fraudulent, unapproved or prohibited COVID-19 test kits can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Highly-trained specialists take reports from both the public and law enforcement agencies on more than 400 laws enforced by HSI.