A $590,000 loan to help his business survive was used to buy a string of new cars.
The Payroll Protection Program offers small businesses that were forced to close during the pandemic a lifeline in the form of a loan. Recently in Detroit, a man abused the PPP program for their own selfish gain.
Instead of using the loan to keep employees on the payroll, Fox News reports that 51-year old Darrell Baker used the funds to splash out on some swanky cars including two Cadillacs, a Dodge Charger, and a Hummer. "The Paycheck Protection Program is designed as a lifeline to businesses struggling to survive this current crisis," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Steven M. D'Antuono.
"Instead of using these loans to salvage a legitimate business, the defendant allegedly bought expensive personal items for himself and his family."
According to the Justice Department, Baker claimed he was running a solar business and applied for and received a $590,000 PPP loan. However, an investigation found that the business, Motorcity Solar Energy Inc, saw the state dissolve its corporate status in July 2019. Baker, on the other hand, claimed that Motorcity employed 68 people and had a $2.8 million payroll throughout last year. The business also did not have an account with the state's unemployment program, which authorities said is a prerequisite for any employer in the state.
Two days after receiving the loan, Baker allegedly bought four cashier's checks and withdrew another $60,000 in cash before blowing the money on two Cadillac Escalade SUVs, a Dodge Charger and a Hummer. Investigators say he gave one vehicle to his sister and brother-in-law and kept the other two for himself.
"Baker is charged with lying to obtain money that was supposed to help small businesses struggling with their payroll and expenses due to the Covid-19 pandemic," US Attorney Matthew Schneider said in a statement. "Defrauding banks to obtain loans is never acceptable, and doing so during our current national emergency is unconscionable."