(IDAHO SPRINGS, Colo.) — An Idaho Springs man pled guilty to wire fraud and money laundering on Thursday, March 23, according to the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado.

59-year-old Edward Baker Harrington could face a prison term of up to 20 years and a fine of $250,000 if convicted of wire fraud, per the U.S. Attorney’s Office. A money laundering conviction could mean a sentence of up to ten years and a fine of $250,000.

From April 2020 through September 2021, Harrington allegedly submitted multiple fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) applications to seven banks and one lender on behalf of business entities that he purportedly controlled, according to the plea agreement.

The defendant obtained more than $1,000,000 in PPP loans as a result of the scheme, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Harrington is accused of using the proceeds to purchase goods and property, including real estate and vehicles for his benefit in lieu of paying eligible business expenses.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said, Harrington also sought loan forgiveness for PPP loans. The defendant’s loan forgiveness applications allegedly included false representations and certifications regarding his businesses and his compliance with the PPP program rules, per the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

This case is being investigated by Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. 

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was enacted in March 2020 to provide emergency financial assistance to Americans dealing with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act created PPP, a program administered by the Small Business Administration. The program provided loans to small businesses to help retain workers, maintain payroll, and other expenses consistent with PPP rules.