SALT LAKE CITY – A federal grand jury in Salt Lake City returned an indictment charging a Utah resident with wire fraud after he allegedly lied about his criminal history when applying for multiple small business loans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to court documents, Carter Lane Lucas, 47, of Herriman, Utah, defrauded the COVID-19 relief programs dubbed the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL) out of approximately $182,800 in loan funds. From April 2020 to August 2021, Lucas submitted multiple fraudulent PPP- and EIDL-Loan applications through Mountain America Credit Union and the Small Business Administration (SBA) and then used the loan proceeds for his personal benefit. According to court documents, during his PPP-Loan application submission, Lucas falsely asserted that he had not been convicted of a felony within the last five years, when in fact he had. In his EIDL-Loan application, and when submitting his EIDL-Loan modification request, Lucas falsely claimed that other than a minor vehicle violation, he had no criminal history. Lucas submitted his fraudulent PPP-Loan application and EIDL-Loan application and modification request using interstate wires.
Lucas is charged with three counts of wire fraud. His initial court appearance on the indictment is scheduled for Nov. 15, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. in courtroom 8.4 before a U.S. Magistrate Judge at the Orrin G. Hatch United States District Courthouse in downtown Salt Lake City.
U.S. Attorney, Trina A. Higgins, of the District of Utah made the announcement.
The Utah Federal COVID-19 Fraud Strike Force is investigating the case, which includes the Office of Inspector General U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA-OIG), U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Assistant United States Attorney Todd C. Bouton of the District of Utah is prosecuting the case.
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 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 and https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus/combatingfraud.
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.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.