Former Wilmington Police sergeant pleads guilty to illegally getting Covid-related business loan

17
Advertisement
A former Wilmington Police officer has pleaded guilty to bank fraud in connection with getting a Payroll Protection Plan (“PPP”) loan-grant.

According to court documents, Michael Coleman, 43, a former sergeant with the Wilmington Police Department, pled guilty to obtaining a $150,000 PPP loan from the Small Business Administration in 2021 for a personal business he claimed to have operated.

“Mr. Coleman was a public servant who took federal funds from a public program that was meant to provide financial support to struggling businesses during a global pandemic when he did not qualify for those funds. My office, in partnership with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, will continue to identify and prosecute individuals who illegally obtained CARES Act funding,” said Delaware U.S. District Attorney David Weiss.

Coleman faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, although sentencing guidelines often result in shorter prison times.

The Small Business Administration funded loans to small businesses as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”). The loans were issued to keep businesses afloat during the pandemic and in some cases became grants with no loan payments.

Safeguards were fewer since the PPP loans were on a fast-track basis. At the same time, there were widespread complaints in the early going of women-owned and minority businesses being shut out of the program, often due to the lack of banking relationships.

In other cases, larger companies used their corporate entities to obtain PPP loans as a way to get around restrictions. Some of the companies returned the funds after coverage of the issue.

Anyone with information about allegations of fraud involving Covid-19 relief can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
Advertisement
Advertisement