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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Colorado

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 4, 2022

Littleton Man Charged with Covid Fraud

DENVER - The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announces Lawrence Phillip Hernandez, age 58, of Littleton, was charged by information with wire fraud for taking money, which he received as a result of fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) applications he submitted.    

On March 27, 2020, the President of the United States signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provided emergency assistance, administered by the United States Small Business Administration (SBA), to small business owners affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The two primary sources of funding for small businesses were the PPP and EIDL program.  

According to the information, from March 30, 2020, until March 2021, Hernandez allegedly devised and participated in a scheme to defraud the United States and two lenders and to fraudulently obtain money and property. Hernandez obtained $952,819 in loan and grant proceeds through his scheme to defraud, including more than $636,000 in PPP loans, and $316,800 from the EIDL program. He obtained the loans and grants based on false representations about his businesses’ gross revenues, costs of goods sold, number of employees, payroll costs, and past spending. Hernandez also submitted fabricated tax and financial documents for 2019. Hernandez allegedly used a portion of the funds for personal expenses.

Hernandez was arraigned on November 4, 2022, before Magistrate Judge N. Reid Neureiter.

The charge in the information is an allegation. The Defendant is presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Denver Division, with assistance from the Small Business Administration-Office of Inspector General, in connection with their work on the Colorado-based EIDL Fraud Task Force. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Craig Fansler and Rebecca Weber.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.

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

Case Number: 22-cr-318

Topic(s): 
Disaster Fraud
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Deborah Takahara Public Affairs Specialist deborah.takahara@usdoj.gov
Updated November 4, 2022