Diana Marszalek 08 Dec 2023 // 8:00PM GMT
NEW YORK — MikeWorldWide has agreed to pay the federal government back $2 million in Covid loans the firm was ineligible to receive.
In a press release, the US Attorney’s Office for the New Jersey District said New Jersey-based MWW “entered a settlement agreement with the United States resolving allegations that the company violated the False Claims Act by taking a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to which the company was not entitled.”
The government said MWW “fully cooperated in the investigation and resolution of this matter.” MWW, owned by Michael Kempner (pictured), was not accused of any wrongdoing in the use of the funds nor assessed fines.
The settlement stemmed from allegations that MWW received a $2 million PPP loan that it wasn’t eligible for because the firm was a required registrant under the Foreign Agent Registration Act.
In a statement, MWW said the “potential error was due to the unintentional action of the company’s former CFO who was not aware that a minor FARA filing in 2021 could make the company ineligible for the second loan.”
“It should be noted that MWW received no revenue nor did any employee of the company work on the engagement during the period in question,” the agency said.
MWW also said the action was not based on claim by the Small Business Administration or Department of Justice but on the claim of a “for-profit, professional whistleblower, called a relator, that is paid a percentage of the settlement." The relator, who is not affiliated with MWW, received $229,000 for his role in exposing the situation.