Suburban restaurant owner accused of taking $170K in PPP loan scam after laying off staff

Melissa Turasky, the owner of Gifford’s Kitchen and Social, used some of the Paycheck Protection Program money to make payments on her credit card, federal prosecutors say.

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The owner of Gifford’s Bar and Restaurant in Elgin faces federal charges related to the Paycheck Protection Program, the federal coronavirus stimulus program for businesses.

The owner of Gifford’s Bar and Restaurant in Elgin faces federal charges related to the Paycheck Protection Program, the federal coronavirus stimulus program for businesses.

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A suburban restaurant owner is facing federal charges for taking a $176,000 federal coronavirus stimulus loan a month after laying off staff and being evicted from her Elgin restaurant’s location.

Melissa Turasky, the owner of Gifford’s Kitchen and Social, used some of the money from the Paycheck Protection Program to make payments on her credit card, federal prosecutors said in an indictment unsealed Friday.

Turasky, 43, was evicted March 2 from her restaurant’s location, 2300 Bushwood Dr., and had laid off all her employees by the end of that month, according to the indictment.

Still, on April 10, Turasky applied for the PPP loan from a bank and lied to make it seem her business was open and operating, prosecutors said.

The two-count indictment charges her with bank fraud and making false statements to a financial institution.

PPP loans have rules limiting them to be used to retain workers, maintain payroll or make mortgage interest payments, lease payments and utility payments.

The U.S. attorney’s office is seeking forfeiture of assets illegally acquired with the loans.

Turasky, who could not be reached for comment, is the second Chicago-area businessperson charged with fraud in the PPP loan program. In June, Evanston businessman Rahul Shah applied for $441,000 in loans after falsely exaggerating his payroll, prosecutors said.

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