SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – Federal court documents show that Springfield multi-restaurant owner, John Michael Felts, is accused of using various companies to fraudulently apply for Paycheck Protection Program loans and Economic Injury Disaster loans.
Felts is a prominent business owner of familiar restaurants such as Hot Cluckers, Taco Habitat, Bourbon & Beale.
Federal documents show Felts received the loans using companies: Taco Habitat GMP LLC, Taco Habit Branson LLC, Habitat Restaurant Holdings LLC, Cluck 2 LLC, Super’s Entertainment LLC, Diagnostic Equipment Inc, Sonic Werx LLC, White River Brewco LLC, E-8 Productions LLC, and Concept Pro LLC.
Financial records obtained by the IRS show Felts applied for 12 PPP loans using the companies listed above. Federal officials say most of the companies Felts used did not have employees and were not in operation at the time he filed for the applications even though Felts stated he did have employees and were in operation at the time.
Felts also applied for 13 other PPP loans using synthesized or fake companies he owned. According to court documents, synthetic identity fraud occurs when criminals create new identities by mixing real and fake information to apply for credit.
Felts is accused of using the money from the PPP loans to buy or loan pay-off several pieces of personal property from May 2020 through November 2021. Federal officials seized all of these items in September 2022. Those items included:
- 2020 Lexus RX350
- Court documents say Felts applied for the PPP loan via E-8 Productions in April 2020. Felts stated on the application that the loan was for payroll and rent/mortgage and that E-8 had 32 employees.
- Felts deposited the $428,375.00 loan and in May 2020, Felts used around $69,000 to buy the Lexus in St. Louis for his mother-in-law.
- Authorities seized the car from his mother-in-law.
- 2020 Ford Transit Van
- In April 2020, Felts applied for another PPP loan under Habit Restaurant Holdings LLC. Court documents state that Felts falsely reported that the business had 19 employees and an average monthly payroll of $130,810.90.
- According to federal documents, Felts sent multiple wires totaling $298,484.90 between May 2020 and August 2020 to the account of Taco Habitat GMP LLC.
- Felts deposited the $327,000 loan. In June 2020, Felts bought a “catering van” for $25,984, portions of the PPP loan he deposited. Records from the dealership show the van was sold to and registered to Taco Habitat GMP LLC.
- Authorities seized the van from Taco Habitat in Springfield.
- 2020 Jeep Wrangler
- In May 2020, Felts applied for a PPP loan for Taco Habitat Branson LLC. In this application, Felts stated the business had 26 employees and an average monthly payroll of $124,000.
- Felts deposited the $310,000 loan. According to court documents, Felts obtained an EIDL for the company and claimed the business had 26 employees and gross revenue of $980,000, and a cost of goods sold of $425,000 when the business was not in operation.
- In July 2020, Felts used $58,594 of the funds to buy a “catering vehicle.” In August the Jeep was registered in the state by Jason Bucher. Bucher submitted a signed affidavit from Felts stating the Jeep was a gift to Bucher.
- Authorities seized the Wrangler from Bucher in Branson.
- 2018 Cadillac CT6
- In April 2020, a PPP application was filed by “Peter Gollan” on behalf of Diagnostic Equipment Inc. Federal documents show that “Gollan” was a fake identity used by Felts. The application claimed the business had 55 employees and an average monthly payroll of $330,148.
- “Gollan” also filed for an EIDL and falsely listed claims on the application. He deposited the $149,900 loan.
- Felts used the “Gollan” alias to file for another PPP loan and EIDL loan. The PPP loan was worth $398,825 and the EIDL was for $149,900.
- Federal documents show sometime between May and June 2020, Felts used $39,176 to pay off a loan, which was secured by the Cadillac. The vehicle was registered to Felts but was seized from a family member.
- Seized in Walnut Shade, Mo.
- 2021 Subaru Outback
- Between May and June 2020, Felts transferred $40,778 to pay off a loan used to buy a 2018 Jeep Wrangler. In July 2020, Felts’ brother registered the Jeep and submitted a signed affidavit from Felts stating the Jeep was a gift.
- Later that month, Felts’ brother traded the 2018 Wrangler for a 2020 Wrangler at a local dealership.
- In April 2022, Felts’ brother traded the 2020 Wrangler for a 2021 Subaru Outback.
- The Subaru was seized in Branson.
- 2020 Ford Transit Van
- In April 2020, Felts applied for a PPP loan using Cluck 2 LLC stating he had 18 employees and an average monthly payroll of f $111,363.77. Felts deposited toe $278,400 loan.
- In May 2020, Felts bought the “catering van” for $26,051.
- Seized from Hot Cluckers in Springfield.
- 2021 Galeon 470SKY Yacht
- In May 2021, Felts used the company name Habitat Restaurant Holdings LLC to apply for a PPP loan. He claimed the business had 28 employees and an average monthly payroll of $115,229.86. Felts deposited the loan worth $403,304.
- According to federal documents, during the summer of 2021, Felts wrote several checks via Habitat Restaurant Holdings LLC payable to Taco Habitat. In June 2021, Felts transferred $25,000 of the PPP loan to his personal checking account, which federal officials say, partially funded a wire in the amount of $50,000 to MarineMax East in Lake Ozark for the “Purchase of new boat…”
- Records from MarineMax show this wire combined with other funds was used to purchase the $1.3 million yacht.
- Federal documents show Felts then transferred $213,000 to his personal account and wired money to “Purchase of new boat…”
- The yacht was seized in Branson.
- Baseball memorabilia and jewelry, federal court documents show:
- In May 2020, Felts used his company Super’s Entertainment LLC, and the fake identity “Tom Holland” to apply for another PPP loan. Flets claimed the business had 86 employees and an average monthly payroll of $464,449. He deposited the $1,161,100 loan.
- He used the “Tom Holland” alias to apply for more loans and grants.
- He used the funds from these loans to purchase a two-tone Rolex watch and two ladies’ sterling silver bracelets. Felts also used these funds to buy a $9,000 18-karat yellow gold Rolex and on a different occasion he bought two pieces of jewelry totaling over $4,000.
- In March 2021, Felts made a payment of $13,041 for various sports memorabilia from an auction agency in New Jersey. He bought a 1952 Topps #312 Jackie Robinson baseball card, and a 1980-1981 Topps Larry Bird, Julius Erving, and Magic Johnson rookie card, signed by all three.
- Felts applied for another PPP loan using his Cluck 2 company and used those funds to buy more jewelry. Federal documents show he spent $16,783 for a ladies’ “RoyalT” Tacori eternity band. He went back the next day to return the wedding band.
- On another instance, he bought more sports memorabilia from the same auction place in New Jersey. This time he bought a 1909-1911 Ty Cobb baseball card and a “2015-16 “Trio Autographs” Larry Bird/Magic Johnson/Julius Erving.”
Federal officials say Felts is also accused of using PPP and EIDL loan funds to purchase several lots of land in the Jones Spring subdivision in Greene County. He used the same companies and the “Peter Gollan” alias to apply for the loans to purchase the land.
KY3 reached out to Felts and his attorney on these accusations and they shared these statements.
“I wish I could tell the entire story and my attorney has advised me to not say a word. I am working with the authorities in multiple jurisdictions to resolve all issues.”
“Mr. Felts has been cooperating with authorities in an investigation into a business associate that conducted improper business transactions. Because this is an ongoing investigation, he cannot comment further as the investigation is ongoing.”
Felts is scheduled to appear in court in January 2024 for the lots of land in Jones Spring.
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