(MICHIGAN) Justice Dept Court Report: According to court documents, Antonio George, 45, of Novi, attempted to obtain approximately $4.1 million in PPP and EIDL loans through applications submitted on behalf of 16 different companies #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Sept.29: The information alleges that along with George, Kevin Womble, 37, of Detroit, Andrae Sims, 43, of Farmington Hills, and Sarah Vidal, 31, of Novi, provided false and misleading documents about certain aspects of the companies’ respective business operations and payroll expenses. For example, the information alleges that George obtained payroll information that was used to support a seemingly legitimate PPP loan application submitted on behalf of an unrelated entity and then used the unrelated entity’s payroll information to support fraudulent PPP and EIDL loan applications.

#AceDailyNews reports that ‘Four Michigan Residents Charged with #COVID19 – Relief-Fraud’ After A criminal information was docketed today charging them in connection with a wire fraud scheme involving over $4.1 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

George, Womble, Sims and Vidal are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. George, a tax preparer, is also charged with three counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false and fraudulent returns for conduct related to his tax preparation business. If convicted of all counts, George faces a maximum total penalty of 29 years in prison. Womble, Sims and Vidal each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

George, Womble and Sims are scheduled to make their initial appearances today in the Eastern District of Michigan. Vidal is set to make her initial appearance tomorrow.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting U.S. Attorney Saima Mohsin of the Eastern District of Michigan; Special Agent in Charge Timothy Waters of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office; Inspector General Hannibal Mike Ware of the SBA’s Office of the Inspector General (SBA-OIG); and Acting Special Agent in Charge Brian Thomas of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) made the announcement.

The FBI, SBA-OIG and IRS-CI are investigating the case.

Trial Attorney Patrick J. Suter of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney John K. Neal of the Eastern District of Michigan are prosecuting the case.

The Fraud Section leads the department’s prosecution of fraud schemes that exploit the PPP. Since the PPP began, Fraud Section attorneys have prosecuted more than 100 defendants in more than 70 criminal cases. The Fraud Section has also seized more than $65 million in cash proceeds derived from fraudulently obtained PPP funds, as well as numerous real estate properties and luxury items purchased with such proceeds. More information can be found at  https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/ppp-fraud.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.

An information is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

#AceNewsDesk report ……..Published: Sept.29: 2021:

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(FLORIDA) Justice Dept Report:A couple pleaded guilty for their participation in a scheme to file four fraudulent loan applications seeking more than $1.1 million in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) & Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act: #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Mar.09: In Stanley’s PPP application, she claimed to employ 18 individuals from her company, Dream Gurl Beauty Supply LLC. Philus, meanwhile, stated that he employed 29 individuals at his company, Elegance Auto Boutique LLC. In actuality, Stanley and Philus did not employ anyone at their respective companies:

Cares Act Case: ‘Couple Pleads Guilty to $1.1 Million #COVID19 – Relief Fraud After Falsely Claiming to Be Farmers on Aug. 26, 2020, Latoya Stanley, 38, and Johnny Philus, 33, both of Miami, were originally charged via a complaint filed in the Southern District of Florida’

In her EIDL application, Stanley claimed to generate over $800,000 in income and to employ five individuals from a farm based in the yard of her Miami home. In his EIDL application, Philus claimed to generate $400,000 in income and to employ 10 individuals from a farm located in the yard of a small residential home. In actuality, Stanley and Philus employed no one and the farms did not exist.

Stanley and Philus worked together to effectuate the fraud and ultimately received over $1 million in fraudulent funds from the fraudulent PPP and EIDL applications before their schemes were uncovered.

Sentencing has been scheduled for June 2.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan of the Southern District of Florida; Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) J. Russell George; Inspector General Hannibal “Mike” Ware of the SBA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG); and Inspector in Charge Antonio Gomez of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Miami Division made the announcement.

The CARES Act is a federal law enacted on March 29, 2020, designed to provide emergency financial assistance to the millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief provided by the CARES Act was the authorization of up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and certain other expenses, through the PPP. In April 2020, Congress authorized over $300 billion in additional PPP funding.

The PPP allows qualifying small businesses and other organizations to receive loans with a maturity of two years and an interest rate of 1%. PPP loan proceeds must be used by businesses on payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. The PPP allows the interest and principal on the PPP loan to be forgiven if the business spends the loan proceeds on these expense items within a designated period of time after receiving the proceeds and uses at least a certain percentage of the PPP loan proceeds on payroll expenses. 

The EIDL program is designed to provide economic relief to small businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. EIDL proceeds can be used to cover a wide array of working capital and normal operating expenses, such as continuation of health care benefits, rent, utilities and fixed debt payments. If an applicant also obtains a loan under the PPP, the EIDL funds cannot be used as the same purpose as the PPP funds.   

This case was investigated by the SBA-OIG, USPIS, and TITGA. Trial Attorney Louis Manzo of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section is prosecuting the case.

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.

#AceNewsDesk report ………….Mar.09: 2021:

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