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Feds: Group Illegally Sought Loans Intended To Help During Pandemic

Federal prosecutors in Arizona say four people tried to steal millions of dollars from a loan program created to help struggling small businesses pay their staff during the pandemic.  

The Paycheck Protection Program was created to help workers keep their jobs and benefits during the pandemic. It lets small-business owners get forgivable loans from the federal government.

Newly unsealed court documents accuse four people of filing loan applications with fake employees and made-up wages at companies they claimed to own.

The quartet faces charges like conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering in connection with the purported scam that went on from roughly April through June.

Prosecutors say the suspects did receive almost a half-million dollars. Some of the cash was used to buy a luxury car that was seized by federal agents.

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.