Travis Lee Harris has been arraigned on federal charges stemming from his fraudulent acquisition of a Paycheck Protection Program loan for small businesses. Harris was indicted by a federal grand jury on January 3, 2023.
“Congress established the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses, not to be easy money for anyone willing to lie on a loan application,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “We will continue to investigate and prosecute anyone who defrauded taxpayers out of the funds meant to sustain the economy during the COVID-19 crisis.”
“Providing false information to defraud SBA’s pandemic-related programs is a crime,” said U.S. Small Business Administration Office of the Inspector General’s Eastern Region Special Agent in Charge Amaleka McCall-Braithwaite. “OIG is committed to rooting out bad actors and protecting the integrity of SBA programs. I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners for their dedication and pursuit of justice.”
According to U.S. Attorney Buchanan, the charges, and other information presented in court: In June 2020, Travis Harris signed a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan application for his business, Atlanta Luxury Cars & Trucks LLC, in the amount of $968,405. Harris’ application was based on fraudulent information about the business’ number of employees, payroll, and revenue. Based on Harris’ fraudulent representations, the lender deposited the $968,405 into one of Harris’ bank accounts for Atlanta Luxury Cars & Trucks LLC. Harris soon began transferring the PPP loan funds into his personal bank accounts.
Travis Lee Harris, 41, of Atlanta, Georgia, was arraigned on an indictment charging the offense of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343, on January 18, 2023, before U.S. Magistrate Judge John K. Larkins III. Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
This case is being investigated by the Small Business Administration’s (SBA-OIG) Office of Inspector General.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Forsyth and Alison Prout are 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, 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.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at [email protected] or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.