In these tough economic times, many Atlanta business owners are looking for any way to keep their business afloat. Trying to keep all of the balls in the air can require a good deal of financial gymnastics. Unfortunately, when engaging in such a high wire act, any slip can bring the whole thing crashing down around you.
There is, of course, a line between financial gymnastics and fraud. But while this line may be as clear as day in retrospect, in the heat of the moment, it can be hard to ascertain the difference between when you are close to the edge and when you are over it. Actions that may seem like the best business option at one point can look entirely different under a prosecutor’s microscope.
One former Atlanta area car dealer has learned this lesson the hard way. He was recently sentenced to serve in excess of seven years in federal prison related to charges of wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and bank fraud, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
According to the news reports, while operating his car dealership he obtained a multi-million dollar business loan. But bank officials later discovered that the businessman was already several million dollars in debt. They further allege that he had used the loan to provide operational capital for a separate car dealership as well as to pay off other debts and finance his personal expenses. He was also charged with using an employee’s name and identifying information to obtain an additional $175,000 in loans.
If you find yourself in a position where your business decisions are being investigated for potential criminal activity, it is important to consult with an Atlanta attorney who has experience defending federal fraud charges.
Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle “Atlanta car dealer sentenced in fraud scheme,” Dec. 22, 2011