CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — A Charleston man is facing up to 20 years in years in prison for faking a business to get more than $40,000 from COVID-19 relief funds in 2021.
According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), Malik Breckenridge, 26 of Charleston, applied and was awarded two PPP loans for a business under the name of Malik Breck.
The press release says Malik Breck was not a registered business in West Virginia on or before Feb. 15, 2020.
Breckenridge says he told officials Malik Breck was established in 2014.
Both loans were for $20,833, totaling out to $41,666, and were processed by a Florida lender, according to the DOJ. The Small Business Administration forgave the loans on Aug. 8, 2021.
“This is the first fraud conviction related to COVID-19 in the Southern District of West Virginia, and sadly, it probably won’t be the last,” said United States Attorney Will Thompson.
Breckenridge also submitted a false IRS Form 1040, Schedule C Profit or Loss from Business, saying Malik Breck earned $180,489 in gross income in 2019.
Breckenridge pleaded guilty to wire fraud and is facing up to 20 years behind bars, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. He must pay $41,666 in restitution.