BALTIMORE (WJZ) – A Maryland man is accused of defrauding more than $ 700,000 in the paycheck protection program that authorities said he used to trade stocks.
Jeffrey Bearden, 47, of Hagerstown, was arrested Thursday on a federal complaint charging him with misrepresentation and bank fraud. Bearden faces up to 30 years federal prison if convicted, the US prosecutor said on Friday.
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After Bearden applied for PPP funding to cover payroll for B&D Consulting, Bearden was approved for a $ 734,000 loan in May 2020. Although the money would be used for business expenses and employee salaries, the company had no employees or reported wages.
Instead, the entire loan amount was transferred to another bank account on the same day.
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The loading documents say that most of the money was transferred to a brokerage account a month later, the same account Bearden used to buy shares in a number of companies, including a vaccine maker.
Bearden applied for another PPP loan in February 2021 and submitted a bank statement indicating that his company had 19 employees. After reviewing the records, the investigators found that no money was transferred or debited to this bank account during the time window he specified.
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The 47-year-old first appeared in federal court in Baltimore on Friday, where he was allowed to be released while awaiting trial on those charges.