WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A federal judge sentenced former Kansas lawmaker Michael Capps after a jury found Capps guilty of defrauding programs meant to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michael Capps

The judge sentenced Capps to 27 months in prison for all counts to run concurrently with two years of supervised release. He has also been ordered to the following:

  • Mental health treatment while in supervision.
  • Must pay restitution in the full amount of $318,647.21.
  • Must pay a special assessment of $1,200 to the Crime Victims Fund.
  • Following his release, he will be restricted from employment that gives discretion over financial matters. This also restricts new credit accounts. 

Capps was found guilty of 12 of 18 counts in his federal trial in Dec. 2022. He was initially indicted on 19 charges, but one wire fraud count was dropped before the trial began.

Sentencing guidelines called for Capps to receive a sentence of 41 to 51 months.

According to The Associated Press, the defense attorney cited Capps’ Air Force service in a combat zone as a reason Capps should not have to serve time in prison.

Before Thursday’s sentencing, defense attorney Kurt Kerns filed paperwork describing Capps as a “single father and disabled American veteran who has no criminal history.” Kerns asked the judge to sentence Capps to probation.

The defense filing also said Capps suffers from medical problems such as high blood pressure and would be “at a higher risk of death or serious illness” if he contracts COVID-19, which is more likely in prison. The defense also said Capps was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which he said makes people more likely to engage in risky behavior.

Prosecutors said Capps filed forms inflating the number of employees he had at Midwest Business Groups LLC and Krivacy LLC, along with his charity, Fourth and Long Foundation. He then applied for loans to pay the nonexistent employees.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Molly Gordon said Capps was trying to avoid responsibility and asked the judge to sentence him to prison.

During the trial in December, financial analysts claimed Capps overstated income figures on loan applications by “over half a million” dollars and did not show proof to the IRS of having any employees.

All told, Capps was found guilty by a jury of:

  • 1 count of false statement to a bank for a PPP loan
  • 1 count Bank fraud – PPP loan
  • 1 count of false statement to the SBA for an EIDL loan
  • 1 count of false statement to the SBA for an EIDL loan
  • 2 counts of wire fraud involving the Small Business Administration
  • 2 counts of wire fraud involving the Small Business Administration
  • 2 counts of Wire Fraud, Kansas Department of Commerce
  • 4 counts of Money Laundering

Capps served a single term in the Kansas House in 2019-20. He ran for reelection but lost his 2020 Republican primary race.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.