SPRINGFIELD, MO. (KI3) – The federal government is suing a southwest Missouri business enterprise owner for making use of PPP funds throughout the pandemic.

Federal authorities accuse John Michael Felts of making use of income to assist organizations throughout the pandemic for individual dwelling improvements. Felts is the prominent owner of popular restaurants such as Hot Cluckers, Taco Habitat, Bourbon & Beale.

Federal investigators stated Felts applied false identities to apply for at least a dozen payment protection loans making use of hundreds of thousands of dollars in his assets alternatively of these organizations. Investigators say he was involved in a “scheme to full false and fraudulent applications for the Wage Protection Plan.”

A spokesman for the U.S. Lawyer for the Western District of Missouri stated no criminal charges have been filed against Felts. Nevertheless, the federal government is looking for forfeiture of numerous properties in the Jones Spring subdivision in East Springfield. They stated Felts applied hundreds of thousands in federal housing improvement income.

David Mitchell, an economics professor at Missouri State University, stated the PPP loans had been sent with great intentions.

“They really should be applied for your standard business enterprise costs, paying workers, utility bills, you might continue to spend rent on the constructing,” Mitchell stated.

Mitchell stated he believed several of the schemes we’re seeing now had been bound to come about simply because the government wanted to assist organizations swiftly.

“The government was attempting to get the income out as swiftly as achievable, and when that occurs, of course, you open oneself up to fraud,” Mitchell stated.

Investigators say the U.S. Smaller Company Administration and other monetary institutions show Felts applied for loans making use of numerous firms he controlled.

These documents state, “Most of these firms had no workers and had been not operating at the time,” despite the fact that Felts stated they did.

Mitchell stated without having a fast move by the government. Quite a few organizations could fail.

“Possibly it will take two, 3, 4, possibly six months to get the funds out in that period.” Of course organizations would fail,” Mitchell stated.

Mitchell explains as consumers, we all spend for this.

“Fraud is a dilemma for every person, and it really is one thing we all finish up paying for,” Mitchell stated. “We all essentially spend for it, as taxpayers.” It really is our tax dollars that are essentially going to somebody else.”

Felts’ attorneys produced the announcement.

“On September 13, 2022, members of the Internal Income Service executed search warrants for info and topic matter concerning Michael Felts’ business enterprise dealings with an person from San Antonio, Texas. Mr. Felts has retained legal counsel to address this matter and can not comment additional on this investigation.”

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By Editor

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