The U.S. Department of Justice has filed charges against 19 people accused of cheating the government out of millions in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan money. Ion Overman is accused of working with Mark C. Mason Jr., an Atlanta businessman to defraud the government out of PPP monies.
Ion Overman has played many roles. She starred in “Port Charles,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Ghost Whisperer,” “Two and a Half Men,” and Tyler Perry’s “Madea Goes to Jail.” And now she will be starring in a life imitates art role of defending herself against the charge of fraudulently getting PPP monies from the government. To whatever extent she received PPP monies, to get herself out of this criminal fraud drama, Ion Overman will need to show that those funds were “needed” as indicated on her application. Recently Ion Overman wrote on her Instagram “I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.”
After the onset of pandemic in 2020, the government made certain funds easily available. A simple application applied for at the right time along with an assertion of need and the money was yours. The Paycheck Protection Program was a low interest to no interest SBA-backed loan program to help businesses who “needed money” keep their workforce employed during the Covid-19 crisis. Some people and businesses capitalized on this as an opportunity to get money they didn’t need.
Many Americans, including highly profiled businesses and religious entities like Joel Olsteen’s Lakewood Church saw this as an opportunity to “get money” from the government despite not having a real “need”. Lakewood Church returned all $4.4 million it received in PPP monies after severe criticism that the mega church didn’t need the money. Lakewood claimed that it received the funds after going months without the “ability to collect substantial donations” in person.
One statistic I found, however, indicated that churches that accept tithes and offerings online have an increase in overall donations by 32%. I wonder if Lakewood Church accepted online donations in 2020. Another statistic indicated that online giving for the 4,964 nonprofit organizations that was analyzed in that 2020 study grew by 20.7%.
Lakewood claimed the money went toward paying the church’s 368 employees, but none according to Lakewood spokesperson went directly to Joel Olsteen. Shake Shake returned $10 million. The Los Angeles Lakers returned $4.6 million. Ruth’s Hospitality Group returned $20 million. Despite these companies obviously applying for money that was in my opinion never needed. They were able to return every dollar received simply because they were “criticized” by others for not needing it. None of these companies applications were put under the microscope because they simply were allowed to return the PPP money received.
Allegedly, the actress Ion Overman either worked with Mark C. Mason Jr., to defraud the government on behalf of others or she used Mason to apply for funds that she didn’t need. I have seen reports that allege that Mason helped businesses receive between $600,000 to $3,000,000 in wrongfully acquired PPP loans.
The scheme Mason allegedly implemented was as follows: Mason created fake “IRS Form 941 documents, a form to show Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return and used to report taxes withheld from employees’ paychecks and to pay the employer’s portion of Social Security and Medicare, with falsified payroll numbers on them.” Mason then submitted these same filings to approved PPP lenders for the loans.
Mason allegedly worked not only with Overman but with one of Master P and Lil Romeo’s music producers Carlos “Clos” Stephens. Additionally actor Dale Godboldo and media personality Marvin Lawton who also goes by OG Shadi Powers were named in the indictment. Mason would file these applications with PPP lenders and if the loan was funded, Mason would receive a “success fee”. The success fee could be between 2 to 5 percent of the approved loan amount.
I am not advocating criminal activity. I am not saying you should defraud the government in any way. In fact, in a video linked below, I warned against this very activity when everybody was applying for PPP loans. I just want to put these allegations against Mark Mason, Ion Overman and others in perspective in comparison to other highly profiled businesses that applied for PPP loans that it turned out they didn’t need.
Lakewood Church received 4.4 million dollars in PPP loans that the church clearly didn’t need. If this church had put this money in an interest bearing account at 1 percent (which I am willing to bet it did), the church would have earned $44,000 on wrongfully acquired money. If it was able to make 3% off the money before returning, the church made $132,000 off the money. Even if the church only could make .50% off the money before returning, that is still $22,000 of interest earned.
Did Lakewood Church give back just the principal loan amount or did it have to give back any and all interest the church earned while holding wrongfully acquired or unneeded government money? If the church returned the entire 4.4 million dollars it got but kept the interest received, the church still arguably defrauded the government out of money in the same range amount as Mason’s success fee.
The entire fee Mason received based on the numbers I have seen was based on loans totaling as low as $600,000 or as high as $3,000,000, which made Mason’s success fee between $44,000 to $150,000. No one from Lakewood was charged with a crime to defend its application for the loan.
Let’s take Shake Shake: Shake Shake returned $10 million in PPP monies it did not need. If Shake Shake earned between .50% to 3% off that money before returning and only returned the principal, then Shake Shake made between $50,000 to $300,000 off the government. No one from Shake Shake to my knowledge was charged with a crime to defend its application for the loan.
Let’s take The Los Angeles Lakers: Los Angeles Lakers returned $4.6 million in PPP monies it did not need. If Los Angeles Lakers earned between .50% to 3% off that money before returning and only returned the principal, then Los Angeles Lakers made between $23,000 to $138,000 off the government. No one from the Los Angeles Lakers to my knowledge was charged with a crime to defend its application.
Let’s take Ruth’s Hospitality Group: Ruth’s Hospitality Group returned $20 million in PPP monies it did not need. If Ruth’s Hospitality Group earned between .50% to 3% off that money before returning and only returned the principal, then Ruth’s Hospitality Group made between $100,000 to $ 600,000 off the government. No one from the Ruth’s Hospitality Group to my knowledge was charged with a crime to defend its application.
Instead of sending these people to jail for filing an application for need where there was no need, maybe the government need to give them a get out of jail free card and let these people pay these loans back just like it did for Shake Shake, Lakewood Church, Los Angeles Lakers and Ruth’s Hospitality Group and call it a day.
In light of the governments recent crack down on PPP loan fraud, I am curious, however, to know whether entities that chose to return the PPP money because they really didn’t need it kept any of the interest earned from the money. I have not heard anyone bring this issue up, but I would be curious to know.
Ion Overman had a #MidWeekInspiration that she wrote a few days ago that I will end this article with. Ion Overman posted “Art offers an opening for the heart. True art makes the divine silence in the soul. Break into applause.”
WATCH SHONSPEAKS DISCUSSION WITH ATTORNEY ELEANOR HAYNES AND THE TAX GENIE PRESTON ANDERSON AS WE DISCUSS “CARES ACT: PITFALLS TO FREE MONEY“ I wished Ion Overman, Mark Mason, and Pretty Ricky rapper Diamond “Baby Blue Whoaaa” Smith had watched this episode before applying for the PPP loans.
GRAB YOUR COPY OF JUSTIN CARSON’S MANIFEST DESTINY JOURNAL