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Pewaukee man pleads guilty to fraudulently getting PPP loans

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A suburban Milwaukee man accused of illegally obtaining more than $1 million in federal loans meant for COVID-19 relief pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court.

Thomas E. Smith, 46, of Pewaukee, pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 2.

Authorities say Smith fraudulently sought over $1.2 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans through applications to an insured financial institution on behalf of eight different companies.

The loan applications contained numerous false and misleading statements about the companies’ respective payroll expenses, which led the financial institution to fund the loans, court documents show.

Smith directed his co-conspirators to send him portions of the PPP funds within days of receiving them and used the proceeds for personal expenses, according to the documents.

Smith’s attorney, MIchael Steinle, did not immediately respond to an email request for comment.

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