PEORIA, Ill. – A Peoria, Illinois man has been sentenced to 12 months in prison for theft of government money, the FBI reports.
Samuel M. Powell, 28, admitted to stealing government money through the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) which was established through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). PPP provided small businesses with funds to pay up to eight weeks of payroll costs and related expenses.
Powell applied for a PPP loan on February 22, 2021. Powell claimed he had operated a barber shop since June 2018 and had one employee with an annual payroll expense of $96,000. He was approved for a $20,000 PPP loan. The funds were direct deposited into Powell’s CEFCU account on March 2, 2021. That same day, Powell withdrew $9,500 in cash, followed by two withdrawals the very next day – one for $9,500 and one for the remaining balance of $1,500. On June 25, 2021, Powell filed a Loan Forgiveness Application, certifying that he used the funds per PPP rules, and the loan was forgiven. However, Powell was not a licensed barber and did not own a barber shop.
Powell was indicted on the current charge on December 21, 2021. He was originally released on bond, but an arrest warrant was issued after Powell removed his electronic monitoring equipment and failed to appear for a February 24, 2022 hearing. He has remained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending sentencing.
Following his release from prison, Powell will serve two years on supervised release. Powell was ordered to pay restitution of $20,000 for the PPP loan and $350 for damaging the electronic monitoring equipment he was ordered to wear when he was released on bond.
The statutory penalties for theft of government money are up to 10 years imprisonment, up to a $250,000 fine, followed by 3 years of supervised release.
The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and FBI investigated the case. Criminal Chief Darilynn J. Knauss represented the government in the prosecution.