Park Forest business owner got $420K in COVID-19 relief loans for company with no employees: feds

PARK FOREST, Ill. -- A business owner from Park Forest obtained more than $420,000 in COVID-19 relief loans for a company with no other employees beside himself, federal prosecutors said.

Carlos Smith claimed his business had more than 61 employees, each making more than $100,000 a year, in order to obtain the Paycheck Protection Program funds, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois.

But in reality, Smith's company employed no one and had no payroll expenses, federal prosecutors said in a statement.

Smith, 56, allegedly applied for $270,000 loan for his Indiana company - CLS Financial Services Inc. - and failed to disclose a felony conviction in his application, prosecutors said.

He also obtained $151,900 in Economic Injury Disaster program loans by falsely claiming in his application that this company had two employees and $1.8 million in gross revenue last year, prosecutors said.

Smith faces two counts of wire fraud, one count of making false statements to a financial institution and one count of money laundering.

His arraignment is set for Jan. 14.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire - Copyright Chicago Sun-Times 2021.)