Updated: Mokena couple charged with $1.1 million PPP loan fraud, using money to buy home

Jennifer Wirtz (left) and her husband, Joseph Wirtz

A Mokena couple have been charged with fraudulently obtaining a $1.1 million loan from the Paycheck Protection Program and using $653,500 of that money to buy a Mokena residence.

On Tuesday, Jennifer Wirtz, 48, and Joseph Wirtz Jr., 57, both of Mokena were charged with theft, loan fraud and wire fraud. Jennifer Wirtz was further charged with money laundering and theft by deception. Mokena is about five miles east of New Lenox and 12 miles east of Joliet.

The criminal complaint said the case was investigated by the Lockport Police Department.

As of 3:31 p.m. Tuesday, Joseph Wirtz was booked into the Will County jail.

A criminal complaint filed in Will County court alleged Jennifer Wirtz applied Jan. 17, 2021, for a $1,169,612 Paycheck Protection Program loan and represented that all the proceeds would be used for business-related purposes only for Josco Construction Services.

The criminal complaint alleged Jennifer Wirtz “knew that such representation was false” and, because of the false application, received $1.1 million from a program that was created to help struggling businesses make payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Josco Construction Services, 2551 Division St. in Joliet, was incorporated in Illinois on 2012, according to records from the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office website. Jennifer Wirtz is listed as president of the company.

According to the company’s website, it was “founded by Jennifer Wirtz in 2012, with a vision and a four-man directional boring crew.”

“Today, JOSCO has grown from four to over 50 employees,” according to the company’s website.

The criminal complaint further alleged that Jennifer Wirtz used $653,500 of the loan proceeds to buy a personal residence in the 18000 block of South Hunt Club Drive in Mokena on Feb. 19, 2021.

Court records listed Jennifer and Joseph Wirtz as living at the address. The property allegedly was bought in the names of both of their names, according to the criminal complaint.

Jennifer Wirtz was charged with money laundering for allegedly putting the $1.1 million PPP loan money into a bank account for Josco Construction Services Services and then transferring that money to a personal savings account that belongs to her and Joseph Wirtz, according to the criminal complaint.

Joseph Wirtz was charged with loan fraud for delivering a forgiveness application for the $1.1 million loan on March 15 that represented all the loan proceeds had been used for “business-related purposes” when he “knew that such representation was false,” according to the criminal complaint.