Idaho Springs man pleads guilty to executing million-dollar PPP fraud scheme


Date: March 23, 2023


The United States Attorney's Office for the District of Colorado announces Edward Baker Harrington, of Idaho Springs, pleaded guilty today to wire fraud and money laundering.

According to the plea agreement, from April 2020 through September 2021, the defendant submitted a number of fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) applications to seven banks and one lender on behalf of business entities that he purportedly controlled. These PPP applications contained a number of false and fraudulent certifications and representations. The defendant obtained more than $1,000,000 in PPP loans as a result of the scheme. He falsely represented that all PPP funds would be used to pay eligible business expenses, when, in fact, the proceeds were used for his personal benefit to purchase goods and property, including real estate and vehicles. The defendant also sought loan forgiveness for PPP loans by submitting loan forgiveness applications in which he made false representations and certifications regarding his businesses and his compliance with the PPP program rules, including rules related to the eligible uses of PPP loan proceeds.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was enacted in March 2020 and was designed to provide emergency financial assistance to Americans dealing with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act created PPP, a program administered by the Small Business Administration that provided loans to small businesses to retain workers, maintain payroll, and certain other expenses consistent with PPP rules.

A wire fraud conviction carries with it a prison term of up to 20 years and a fine of not more than $250,000. A money laundering conviction carries with it a prison term of up to 10 years and a fine of not more than $250,000.

This case is being investigated by Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Nicole Cassidy and Martha Paluch.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts.

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice's National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form.