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Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation.  Every claim and potential legal claim must be viewed on its own merits. The information on this website is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Every situation and every client’s legal matter is different and this website is merely meant to provide information to the public. Nor does this website create an attorney-client relationship – such a relationship has not been formed unless a signed fee agreement has been made. If you want legal advice or want to know if you have suffered a legal wrong contact the attorneys at The Law Office of Hakimi & Shahriari at (888) 635 - 2250.

The looting of the COVID relief plan known as PPP has been described as the "Biggest Fraud in a generation." The COVID-19 Pandemic had a devastating impact on many business owners and workers. In response the government stepped in to provide aid in the form of numerous grant and relief programs, including, the Paycheck Protection Program ("PPP") and Restaurant Revitalization Funds Grants ("RRF").

Unfortunately, for each deserving business that followed the rules when they applied, there were an equal number of businesses that did not, and engaged in fraud and stole tens of billions of dollars of taxpayer dollars. By doing so, they not only stole from each and every taxpaying American, they also stole from businesses that were legitimately entitled to that relief. This behavior is not only abhorrent, it exposes these wrongdoers to civil and criminal penalties. It is estimated that more than $1 TRILLION were stolen. 

Fortunately, the law empowers regular folks (like you) who have knowledge of some wrongdoing to step into the shoes of the US government and file lawsuits against these wrongdoers to recover the stolen money. In doing so, you as the "whistleblower" will be entitled to up to 50% of the money recovered, which could be in the millions.

Here are some common examples of fraud under the COVID relief programs. This list is not exhaustive and represents a few examples. There are many types of conduct that are prohibited:

  • Filing PPP loan applications with false or misleading information (i.e. misstating the amount of expenses, the amount of revenues, costs of good sold or number of employees employed by the applicant);
  • Using stolen information to apply for and receive unemployment benefits;
  • Applying for loans for which one is not eligible; and
  • Using RRF Funds for a non-allowable use. As an example, proceeds may be used for things like payroll, rent, utilities, building and equipment maintenance, supplies, food and beverage supplies, and other business operating expenses. In contrast, owner draws based on profit were not an eligible use of RRF funds and can lead to liability.  

About Whistleblower Claims - You Can Make a Difference!

When an individual has knowledge of an organization or company’s activities and is able to provide information regarding fraud, corruption or other illegal activity, this may be considered a whistleblower lawsuit (also known as a Qui Tam Lawsuit). These individuals, commonly referred to as “whistleblowers,” are often employees, contractors, and former employees who have access to that organization or company’s internal data, documents, or information. They may also be outsiders, who happen to have knowledge of the inner workings of a company or individuals at a company.

Federal and State laws protect and compensate whistleblowers, most often for cases in which the individual has brought forth information regarding a company or individuals that have committed fraud against the government and taxpayers. Specifically, under the Federal and California False Claims Act, the qui tam provisions provide whistleblowers with compensation when the government is able to recover money as a result of the information provided. The whistleblower may even receive a percentage, often 20 to 30 percent, of the amounts recovered by the government. Considering the fact that courts may provide penalties of 3 times the amount stolen, the whistleblowers compensation can be in the millions. 

In some cases, where the whistleblower is an employee and is brave enough to come forward with this information and expose illegal wrongdoings of the public or private sector, this may sometimes result in retaliation by that organization or company. In some cases a whistleblower may be retaliated against by their current or former employer, they may be fired, demoted, or discriminated against in one way or another for divulging this information. In these scenarios, it is imperative that whistleblowers obtain effective representation in order to advocate and protect their rights under the Federal and California False Claims Act. It is also important to hire competent legal counsel to properly investigate a whistleblower claim, examine all viable options for the claim, and to pursue the highest possible compensation. All information provided is confidential and the identities of whistleblowers are protected.


If you believe that you have evidence about fraud committed a company or by your employer or coworkers, and if you are willing to present this information in a lawsuit on behalf of the government against that corporation, please contact our firm immediately for a free, no obligation confidential consultation (888) 635 - 2250. Our attorneys will also provide information on how to protect your rights as a whistleblower and to protect your identity through anonymity provisions. These cases are time sensitive, so please do not wait to contact an attorney for more information. You may also confidentially submit the form below.

whistleblower - PPP FRAUD, RRF Fraud, COVID RELIEF FRAUD

Law Office of Hakimi & Shahriari

The Law Office of Hakimi & Shahriari
15760 Ventura Blvd., Suite 650
Encino, California 91436
Toll-Free: (888) 635 - 2250