Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building in Bangor, Maine on Oct. 29. 2019. Credit: Natalie Williams

A Levant man pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court in Bangor to wire fraud and money laundering charges after submitting fraudulent applications to two pandemic relief loan programs.

Craig C. Franck, 40, faces up to 20 years in prison and three years of supervision after receiving funds totalling $321,560 from the Payment Protection Plan and Economic Injury Disaster Loan   programs to assist a company that was no longer in business, according to U.S. Attorney Darcie N. McElwee.

Franck formerly owned CCF Acoustics LLC and CCF Acoustical Systems, but neither business generated income nor had employees in 2020 and 2021. In the summer of 2020, Franck received $177,400 in Economic Injury Disaster Loan funds due to false claims of economic injury caused by the pandemic, according to McElwee.

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After spending the funds on his pick up truck and other personal matters, Franck filed false claims to a private lender in March 2021.

Franck received $145,060 in March 2021 from a Payment Protection Plan loan, which he used on personal matters, resulting in a fine of $250,000.

Franck is the second person in Maine to be charged with fraudulently obtaining a Paycheck Protection Program loan, but the first to be charged with fraudulently obtaining a disaster loan.

Nathan Reardon,  44, of Skowhegan and Plymouth last month pleaded guilty to five counts of bank fraud in connection with the $60,000 Paycheck Protection Program loan he received in 2020 by falsifying information about payroll for his business. He is the first person charged in Maine with COVID relief-related fraud.

“These funds were meant to keep small businesses running during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will hold accountable those who sought to take advantage of a national emergency simply to line their own pockets,” said McElwee.