Ex-Kansas legislator pleads not guilty to COVID relief fraud

Posted at 9:32 AM, Sep 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-23 10:32:10-04

WICHITA, Kan.  — Former Kansas state Rep. Michael Capps has pleaded not guilty to 19 counts that allege he tried to defraud federal, state and county government organizations out of more than $450,000 in coronavirus relief funding.

Capps entered the plead Wednesday via video conference from his lawyer's office during his arraignment hearing, the Wichita Eagle reported. Capps also agreed to surrender his passport while he awaits trial.

Federal prosecutors have said the Wichita Republican filed forms inflating the number of employees he had at two businesses and a sports foundation, and then applied for loans to pay the non-existent employees. Capps is charged with multiple counts of making a false statement, bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.

The alleged fraud involved the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program and Emergency Injury Disaster Loan programs, which are designed to provide assistance to businesses that struggled during the pandemic.

Capps has not been arrested or detained in connection with the case. On Wednesday, a judge allowed him to remain free on a $25,000 unsecured bond.