Man sentenced to 14 months in prison for receiving PPP funds while under investigation for construction fraud

arrest of criminals. metal handcuffs on hundred dollar banknotes (alfexe, Getty Images)

BRYAN, Texas – A 46-year-old man has been sentenced to 14 months in prison after being convicted of wire fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Keith Anton Johnson pleaded guilty on March 10.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes sentenced Johnson to 14 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release.

In handing down the sentence, the court considered Johnson’s fraudulent statements on multiple official documents he used to secure $123,000 in Payroll Protection Loans. Specifically, court records show he falsely claimed he was not currently under indictment for any other crime.

During his plea, Johnson admitted that in 2020, he lied on multiple documents while applying for a Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan. At the time of his application, Johnson was under indictment in Harris County for theft of over $300,000 in connection with construction fraud, allegedly committed in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Johnson would have been ineligible to receive PPP funds due to that indictment.

Johnson applied for the fraudulently obtained PPP loan by claiming the loan was to be used for the employees of a bar and live music venue he owned in Bryan called Southerns, which closed during the pandemic.

Johnson was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility in the near future.

FBI and Harris County Precinct One Constable’s Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas H. Carter prosecuted the case.

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