Bluegrass RV owner pleads guilty to filing $1.3 million in fake payroll loans

Randall Blankenship Jr. could face up to 20-years in prison for defrauding the federal Small Business Administration

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The owner of Bluegrass RV pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Lexington to a federal conspiracy charge, admitting he filed $1.3 million in bogus payroll protection loans for employees who didn’t exist, according to federal court documents.

49-year old Randall Blankenship Jr., who lives in Woodford County, applied for four loans from the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) in April 2020 totaling $1,323,829 for four different businesses he controls separate from Bluegrass RV, according to court documents.

Prosecutors say Blankenship and his accountant filed false documents to make it look like those four companies had employees.

Some of the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan money Blankenship received was used to pay expenses at Bluegrass RV, but some was used to pay off Blankenship’s gambling debts and buy real estate, according to prosecutors.

The Payroll Protection Program began in April 2020 to allow businesses that were forced to shut down by the pandemic to receive loans to keep employees paid.  The program ended May 31, 2021.

Blankenship’s lawyer told the court his client is in the process of selling Bluegrass RV, which will allow the $1.3 million to be repaid, according to court documents.  Bluegrass RV has a location in Lexington and Georgetown.

Blankenship pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, according to court documents.  He could face up to 20-years in prison.

Blankenship is scheduled to be sentenced March 17, 2022.



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