Former Kansas lawmaker convicted of COVID-19 relief fraud

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former Kansas state lawmaker was found guilty by a federal jury Wednesday of 12 felonies for lying on applications for federal COVID-19 relief.

Federal prosecutors said Wichita Republican Michael Capps, 44, filed forms inflating the number of employees he had at two businesses and a sports foundation, and then applied for loans to pay the nonexistent employees. A federal grand jury indicted Capps in September 2021 and he pleaded not guilty.

The Wichita Eagle reported that Capps was found guilty of three counts of making false statements on loan applications, one count of bank fraud, four counts of wire fraud and four counts of money laundering. Capps could face millions of dollars in fines and decades in prison at sentencing.

Capps was acquitted Wednesday on six other counts, and a 19th count was dismissed before trial.

Prosecutors said the fraud involved the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program and Emergency Injury Disaster Loan programs, which were designed to provide assistance to businesses that struggled during the pandemic.

Capps and his defense lawyer Kurt Kerns did not respond to questions from reporters after the verdict.

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