PORTLAND, Ore. — A Portland man created a pair of bogus businesses, including a restaurant called "Slippery Pete’s," to defraud the government of COVID-19 relief funds, according to court documents.
Sean Kirkpatrick of Portland was charged with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in federal court. Prosecutors claim Kirkpatrick received almost $100,000 in Paycheck Protection Program funds.
Kirkpatrick was unemployed and recently released from prison following a felony drug conviction, according to court records.
Federal prosecutors claim Kirkpatrick submitted two fraudulent PPP loan applications to the Small Business Administration.
In February 2021, Kirkpatrick used a victim’s stolen identity to apply for a $48,125 PPP loan on behalf of a business called Sphere Integration Group, according to prosecutors. Records indicate there was no such business.
In March 2021, federal prosecutors claim Kirkpatrick used his own name to apply for a second loan for $48,625 on behalf of a restaurant called Slippery Pete’s. The restaurant didn’t exist.
In support of both PPP loan applications, Kirkpatrick submitted fake IRS tax forms, court records show.
In 2020, as COVID-19 shutdowns threatened businesses, the U.S. government started issuing nearly $800 billion in potentially forgivable PPP loans. The program was designed to help businesses keep workers employed during the pandemic.
Prosecutors claim Kirkpatrick spent most of the proceeds of the PPP loans on cash withdrawals, payments to creditors, criminal associates, insurance and cell phones.