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LONDON, Ky. (FOX 56/AP) – A Kentucky man has been sentenced to two years and nine months in prison for using false pretenses to accept $370,000 in paycheck protection loans under a federal coronavirus assistance program.

David Christopher Lewis’ plea agreement said, in May 2020, Lewis submitted two fraudulent applications for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans on behalf of Bubba Fest, LLC, and Elite Artists Agency, LLC.  Both businesses related to a “comic con”-style event called Bubba Fest that Lewis had organized in prior years. 

Paycheck Protection Program loans were designed to provide an incentive for small businesses to keep workers on their payroll during the pandemic. But these loans were to be forgiven by the United States Small Business Administration if the borrower established that loan proceeds were used for payroll, rent, or other approved business expenses.

The 49-year-old Harlan man was sentenced in federal court last week for his guilty plea to wire fraud. Lewis admitted he submitted fraudulent applications in May 2020 for loans on behalf of two businesses.

Evidence admitted at Lewis’s sentencing hearing established that between May 26 and August 28, 2020, Lewis paid himself or his wife more than $100,000 of the PPP loan money.  In his plea agreement, Lewis also admitted to obstructing the FBI’s investigation of his crime by providing a sworn affidavit that lied about the existence and whereabouts of the businesses’ employment and payroll records.

Lewis was ordered to pay full restitution.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.