SCRANTON, Pa. (WETM) – A Wellsboro man has been indicted on fraud charges for allegedly using more than $400,000 in COVID-19 relief funds to buy a vacation home in Alabama, according to a U.S. Attorney.
Nicholas Perkins, 57, was charged on June 28, 2022 in connection to the alleged wire fraud and money laundering scheme. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, in April 2020 Perkins allegedly took out a $465,000 loan as part of the Paycheck Protection Program.
Perkins then allegedly wrote a check to himself from his business to use $420,000 of the loan to buy a beach home in Dauphin Island, Alabama. The house cost around $850,000 in total, the indictment said.
Perkins, owner of Well-Versed Oilfields, LLC, then allegedly asked for loan forgiveness for the money in December 2020, claiming he used the money for his business. The press release said Perkins allegedly intended the Alabama home to be a potential second source of income, as well as a second home.
Perkins was charged with wire fraud, bank fraud, unlawful money transaction and making a false loan application. Perkins faces a potential maximum sentence of 30 years in prison if convicted.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office explained that PPP loans, funded by the March 2020 CARES Act, are designed to be forgivable loans for small businesses with financial problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The loans are supposed to be used for payroll services, mortgage interest, leases and utility expenses.