IT professional charged for fraudulently seeking more than $8 million in paycheck protection loans

An information technology professional has been charged with wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements to a financial institution, and making false statements to the Small Business Administration (SBA) in order get more than $8 million in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans, the inspector general’s office of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) said Monday.

The FDIC, drawing on a Justice Department release on a case in which the FDIC IG office assisted, said Benjamin Hayford, 32, of Centerton, Ark., was charged in a federal criminal complaint filed in the Northern District of Oklahoma over the effort to fraudulently obtain the loans from the PPP, created under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and administered by the SBA.

Hayford, a project manager employed by a major retailer, allegedly sought the SBA-backed loans from multiple banks by claiming fictitious payroll expenses, the release said. It also said he told a financial institution that the limited liability partnership for which he applied was established in January 2020 and operating as of Feb. 15, 2020, when information in his email account showed he did not create the partnership until April 2020, several days before he began applying for PPP loans.

Arkansas Project Manager Charged in Oklahoma with COVID-Relief Fraud