South Carolina Man Convicted of COVID-19 Relief Fraud
A federal jury in Atlanta convicted a South Carolina man today of fraudulently obtaining a $300,000 forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Travis Crosby, 32, of Wellford, conspired to submit a PPP loan application on behalf of Crosby’s company, Faithful Transport Services LLC (Faithful Transport). The loan application falsely inflated the number of employees and average monthly payroll for Faithful Transport, inducing a larger PPP loan than Crosby could legitimately obtain. Crosby and a co-conspirator also caused the submission of a forged tax document to support the false statements in the loan application. Crosby then engaged in a series of sham transactions with various individuals to make it appear that he was paying them payroll for work at Faithful Transport when, in reality, these individuals returned the vast majority of the funds to Crosby.
Crosby was convicted of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, making a false statement to a bank, and money laundering. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 10, 2023, and faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison for conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, and making a false statement to a bank, and 20 years for money laundering. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Crosby is the 11th defendant to be convicted as part of the Justice Department’s prosecution of a $3 million, Atlanta-based PPP fraud ring. Previously, 10 other members of the scheme were charged by the Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia. All other defendants pleaded guilty prior to trial. To date, authorities have recovered approximately $1.2 million of the stolen money.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan for the Northern District of Georgia; Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division; Special Agent in Charge Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Inspector General (SBA-OIG); and Special Agent in Charge Mark Morini Jr. of the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) made the announcement.
The FBI Atlanta Field Office; the SBA-OIG; and the TIGTA investigated the case.
Trial Attorney Matthew Reilly of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Huber for the Northern District of Georgia are prosecuting the case and Trial Attorney Michael P. McCarthy of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane D. Schulman for the Northern District of Georgia provided significant assistance.
Since the inception of the CARES Act, the Fraud Section has prosecuted over 150 defendants in more than 95 criminal cases and has seized over $75 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 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 via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.