SALT LAKE CITY — Lisa Bradshaw Rowberry, 49, of Provo, pleaded guilty to her role in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan fraud scheme last week in federal court. Rowberry pleaded guilty to loan application fraud for illegally obtaining a Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan for the trucking company Frisbu, where she was employed by company owner and co-accused Hubert Ivan Ugarte. Ugarte pleaded guilty to PPP loan fraud and federal bribery charges involving the FedEx Ground Hub in federal court last month.
According to the plea agreement, Rowberry admitted to submitting a fraudulent loan application to Transportation Alliance Bank in Ogden, Utah, for PPP loans authorized by the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act, and that she fraudulently obtained $210,000 in PPP. loans for Frisbu after he failed to disclose on the loan application that Ugarte was facing federal indictment for his role in a bribery scheme involving the FedEx Ground Hub. Rowberry said she first met Ugarte while working as a branch manager at a US Bank branch in Utah where Ugarte was a client, and that when she went to work for Ugarte, she knew he was under federal indictment for his role in a FedEx. Pattern of Ground Hub corruption that occurred in Utah.
The CARES Act is a federal law enacted on March 29, 2020, designed to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans suffering from the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the sources of relief provided by the CARES Act was the authorization of up to $349 billion in small business forgivable loans for job retention and certain other expenses through the PPP. In April 2020, Congress authorized over $300 billion in additional PPP funding, and Congress again authorized over $284 billion in additional PPP funding in 2021.
PPP loan proceeds are to be used by businesses for payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent and utilities. The PPP allows the interest and principal of the PPP loan to be fully forgiven if the company spends the loan proceeds on these expenses within a specified period of time after receiving the proceeds and uses a certain amount of the PPP loan proceeds on salary expenses. .
Sentencing is set for July 7.2021 for Rowberry and June 3, 2021 for Ugarte.
Assistant United States Attorneys from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Utah prosecuted the case against Rowberry. Special agents from the FBI, the IRS and the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Transportation conducted the investigations.