CHICAGO (CBS) — The owner of a shuttered restaurant in Elgin has been indicted on fraud charges, after federal prosecutors say she provided false information to obtain a Paycheck Protection Program loan in April, even though she’d already closed her business and laid off her entire staff.
Melissa Turasky, who owned Gifford’s Kitchen and Social before it closed more than five months ago, faces one count of bank fraud and one count of lying on a bank loan.
Federal prosecutors say Gifford’s closed in early March 2020, when it was evicted from its rented space in Elgin. By the end of March, all of the employees had been laid off.
In mid-April, Turasky submitted an application with for a $175,822 PPP loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration. PPP loans were part of the federal coronavirus relief legislation approved by Congress in late March. Businesses applying for the loans were required to use them to cover payroll costs, interest payments on mortgages, rent, and utilities.
According to the indictment, Turasky provided false information to her bank to make it appear Gifford’s was still open, even though she already had been evicted and all her employees had been terminated.
Turasky is accused of using some of the $175,822 she received for payments on a credit card in her name.
Although Turasky has not yet appeared in court, a judge has set her preliminary bail at $4,500, and she will be allowed to sign a recognizance bond, which would mean she would stay free pending trial, as long as she attends all of her required court dates.