Pizza entrepreneur gets prison for fraud in loan program
MACOMB TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A Detroit-area pizza entrepreneur was sentenced to more than two years in prison Tuesday for committing fraud while seeking more than $900,000 in government-backed loans during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mike Bischoff received approximately $594,000 from lenders, the government alleged. He was accused of giving false information about his payroll and the number of employees and making other misrepresentations.
“A defendant willing to take advantage of a program designed and intended to help keep our economy afloat during a pandemic is richly deserving of a serious punishment,” prosecutors said in a court filing.
Bischoff, the co-founder of Passport Pizza in Macomb County, was sentenced to 32 months in prison; the government had recommended 41 months.
Defense attorney James Thomas acknowledged that Bischoff “cheated” during a stressful period for his business and in his personal life. He said the money has been repaid.
“His ability to attract potential investors or partners again will also be hindered by his felony conviction, his shame and the publicity surrounding this case,” Thomas said in arguing for a short sentence.