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Press Release

Jury Convicts Madison Man of Covid-Relief Fraud, False Statements, and Money Laundering

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Wisconsin
Eric Upchurch Submitted Loan Applications with False Information

MADISON, WIS. – A Madison, Wisconsin, man has been convicted of Covid-relief fraud, making false statements on loan applications, and money laundering. Eric Upchurch, 36, was convicted following a three-day trial in federal court in Madison.  The jury reached a verdict today after approximately five hours of deliberation. The guilty verdict is announced by Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin.

In March 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was enacted to provide immediate financial assistance to individuals, families, and organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This Act authorized the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to offer Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgivable loans to business owners negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government presented evidence at trial that from April 2020 to April 2021, Upchurch submitted 14 PPP loan applications to the SBA on behalf of his various companies. In each PPP application, Upchurch falsely represented his companies’ payroll expenses and revenues. Upchurch also submitted false documentation. In total, Upchurch’s fraudulent representations caused the SBA to approve 10 of the loans and deposit approximately $400,000 into bank accounts controlled by Upchurch. The government also presented evidence that Upchurch laundered fraudulently obtained funds by purchasing cryptocurrency. 

U.S. District Judge William M. Conley scheduled sentencing for August 30, 2024. Upchurch faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison on the each of the fraud counts and 10 years on the money laundering count. Upchurch faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison on each of the false statement counts. 

The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Small Business Administration, Office of Inspector general. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Chad Elgersma and William M. Levins.

Updated June 13, 2024