Seven Things to Know Before You Take Coronavirus Disaster Relief Money: I Went to Prison for S.B.A. Loan Fraud
Date:  04-20-2020

Co-founder of Progressive Prison Ministries offers sage advice for those who mistakenly believe rules are suspended in times of crisis
Posted with permission from Jeff Grant Co-founder of Progressive Prison Ministries:

In the months after 9/11 I was frantic. My business was already failing because of ten years of rampant prescription opioid abuse. In my desperation I saw what I just knew would be the way out of my problems. The television and radio were blaring with ads for 9/11 FEMA loans administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration, so I lied and said I had an office near ground zero. I received the SBA loan and immediately repaid my personal credit cards that I had run up waiting for the SBA loan money. But the loan did little to stop my descent into drug addiction, mental health issues, marital problems and magical thinking. In 2002, I resigned my law license and started on the road to recovery. It all caught up with me about 20 months later when I was arrested for the misrepresentations on my loan application. I served almost 14 months at a Federal prison for wire fraud and money laundering.

My ministerial objective in writing this piece is not to be negative; rather, it is meant to be positive, important information for businesspeople to consider before they take out disaster loans. Certainly, the majority requesting these loans are honest, good, and upstanding businesspeople who can demonstrate great need for these loans and will use them properly. I am very glad there is help for them. That said, experience shows us that many good intended businesspeople will make mistakes and wander into big trouble. If they are more aware in advance, perhaps they will avoid both the mistakes and the consequences down the road. There are those too who will try to bilk the system – perhaps a few things in this article might dissuade them from taking that path. Continue reading >>>