A Portland business owner has been charged with two counts of federal loan fraud for allegedly inflating the payrolls of his two businesses to raise more than $ 622,000 in COVID-19 small business relief money for his own use.
Peter Peacock Blood, 57, claimed in two Paycheck Protection Program loan applications in April 2020 that his Portland-based companies, Cycle Power Partners and Cycle Holdings, had a total of 10 employees and a monthly payroll. average over $ 116,000.
The U.S. District Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon said tax returns filed in 2019 and 2020 showed Cycle Power Partners, which touts itself as a clean energy producer, did not have more than two employees and paid less than $ 7,000 in quarterly wages.
No quarterly tax returns were filed for Cycle Holdings in those years, according to the United States District Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon. In state register documents, Cycle Holdings describes its business operations as an “energy, environment, infrastructure, technology, asset management asset and service holding company. , operation and maintenance ”.
The indictment was unsealed earlier this month. Court documents show Blood pleaded not guilty on July 14. An attorney for Blood declined to comment.
Blood could face up to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $ 2 million if found guilty.
The Paycheck Protection Program provided potentially repayable loans to small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic to help cover salaries and other expenses.
Blood’s firm had previously sought a tax credit worth up to $ 10 million in 2014 as part of the controversial and now defunct Energy Tax Credit for Businesses in the ‘State.
Lawmakers removed the tax credit in 2010 due to rising costs and abuse of its flexible rules, but they retained vested interests in previously approved projects. Blood’s firm, Cycle Power Partners, sought to take over a solar project in southern Oregon that had been abandoned by two other companies.
The Oregon Department of Energy approved a transfer of the business energy tax credit, but Cycle Power Partners told the Oregon Department of Energy two months later it was withdrawing also the project, citing construction delays and an inability to secure permanent funding.