State Watch

Ex-Kansas state rep charged with fraud of more than $450K in COVID-19 relief money

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A former Kansas state lawmaker was indicted by a federal grand jury on Thursday on charges that he attempted to defraud the government on several levels of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of COVID-19 relief funding.

Kansas state Rep.Michael Capps (R), 43, was indicted on more than a dozen counts of making a false statement, bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. The U.S. attorney’s office in Kansas said in a statement that Capps is accused of defrauding federal, state, and local agencies of more than $450,000 in COVID-19 business recovery funds.

Both former President Trump and President Biden passed legislation over the course of the pandemic to provide assistance for businesses that could not afford to keep workers on their payroll. 

The state’s attorney office said that Capps filed false and fraudulent documents to the Small Business Administration for Economic Injury Disaster Loans to earn pandemic-based loan assistance.

Prosecutors also alleged that Capps defrauded the Kansas Department of Commerce for Small Business Working Capital and Sedgwick County’s CARES Act grants program.

According to a report from The Associated Press, Capps allegedly added to the number of employees he claimed he had at his two businesses and a sports foundation to claim funding for the workers he did not have. 

Capps was embroiled in controversy last year in connection to a plot for a smear campaign against Wichita, Kan., Mayor Brandon Whipple (D), according to the wire service. A recording leaked of Capps and two Wichita-area GOP officials discussing a way to frame another Republican for an ad that falsely claimed Whipple was accused of sexual assault.  

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Metzger is prosecuting the case, the Department of Justice’s statement noted.

Tags COVID-19 relief Donald Trump Joe Biden Kansas Michael Capps U.S. Department of Justice Wichita
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