Feds accuse Springfield restaurateur of using PPP loan for renovations

Feds accuse Springfield restaurateur of using PPP loan for renovations

The owner of multiple Springfield restaurants has been accused by the government of fraudulently using Paycheck Protection Program money for home improvement projects.

John Michael Felts − whose restaurants include Bourbon & Beale, Hot Cluckers and Taco Habitat − is accused in a lawsuit filed last week by the federal government of using the loan money, obtained under more than a dozen different identities and companies, to purchase and improve other properties. Federal officials have not filed criminal charges but are asking for forfeiture of four properties in Greene County.

Records show that Felts applied for around a dozen PPP loans using several different companies, most of which “did not have employees and were not in operation at the time of application,” according to court documents. He also applied for around 13 loans using “synthesized or fabricated identities.” The alleged improvements done with the loan money were not eligible or authorized under the terms of the program, which was meant to aid business-owners in continuing employee paychecks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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