Since Draya Michele Has Questions For 'Scamming Scammers' About SBA Loans — Here's A Short Lesson
Photo Credit: Gotham
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Since Draya Michele Has Questions For 'Scamming Scammers' About SBA Loans — Here's A Short Lesson

Draya Michele — model, swimwear designer, actress, and frequent Twitter trending topic — has some questions, and we’re here to answer them.

In a tweet, Michele called out her “scamming scammers” and asked about the steps to paying back an SBA (Small Business Association) loan, under which falls other loan types like the aforementioned PPP loans.

As one might imagine, the comments did not go over well, with one alleged former employee of the SBA summing up the answer as succinctly as the social platform would allow.

Fortunately for Draya Michele, SBA makes it rather easy to pay back all types of loans — and they provide quick and easy instructions to do so on their website (Basically, you can either mail a check, pay online, or call them up and make a payment over the phone).

In fairness, she’s not the only one who is confused about the process involving SBA-related loans, which include the Paycheck Protection Program loans (also known as the PPP loans). With no shortage of instances of fraud, deception, or even just ignorance on the matter, we decided to provide this quick and easy guide to Paycheck Protection Program loans — who can get them, what they’re used for, and what happens if you don’t do the right thing when you get them.

First off, what is a PPP loan?

In 2020, the United States government passed a nearly $1 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (also known as the CARES Act) that included Paycheck Protection Program Loans (better known as PPP loans). These loans were specifically designed to help businesses — especially small businesses — to continue to pay their employees in the wake of the pandemic.

How do you get a PPP loan?

Businesses of all sizes can apply for a PPP loan — whether first or second draw — through the SBA website.

Do I have to pay back my PPP loan?

You do have to repay the loan if you don’t apply for loan forgiveness, and not all loans that qualify for forgiveness will be wholly forgiven.

The SBA has recently released guidelines on how to get your PPP loan forgiven, and those guidelines can be found here.

Check with your lender to make sure that it is participating in the loan forgiveness program before applying.

Who does not qualify for this type of loan?

Not everyone qualifies for a PPP loan.

Bench.co reveals that certain factors are automatic disqualifiers for a PPP loan, such as:

  • A business that wasn’t operational prior to February 2020
  • A business that solely employs domestic workers (i.e., nannies, housekeepers)
  • A business that has one (or more) owners that have a criminal record that includes a fraud conviction
  • A business that is bankrupt or currently in bankruptcy proceedings

What happens if you're caught committing fraud when it comes to the Paycheck Protection Program?

If you’re caught committing fraud when it comes to your PPP loan, you’d better get used to three hots and a cot — and not having your freedom for a long time.

“PPP funds can be used for four purposes: payroll, mortgage interest, rent/lease, and utilities. Payroll should be the major use of the loan. The second stimulus bill also introduced four new categories of expenses that are allowed,” according to Bench.co.

You can check those categories out here.

The operative phrase to bear in mind is, “payroll should be the major use of the loan.” If you choose to spend your PPP money on, say, mortgage interest, it has to meet certain parameters. For example, the Treasury Department says you can only use PPP loan money to pay mortgage interest incurred before February 15, 2020. So, if you defaulted on your mortgage interest after February 15, 2020, you cannot “catch up” using PPP loan money.

Regardless of what you choose to do with your PPP loan, it’s a good idea to be as forthcoming as humanly possible.

“False statements or other fraudulent conduct in connection with a PPP loan may subject a violator to significant federal criminal liability in a number of ways,” reports the New York Law Journal. “False statements in a PPP application may also subject violators to up to 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine for wire fraud (18 U.S.C. §1343) and mail fraud (18 U.S.C. §1341), and up to 30 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine for bank fraud (18 U.S.C. §1344), among other things. It is thus crucial for small businesses and self-employed taxpayers alike to be aware of and understand the numerous potential legal pitfalls during the application process.”