Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri Delivers Keynote Address at the 40th International Conference on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
A federal grand jury in the Western District of Tennessee returned an indictment yesterday charging 10 individuals for their roles in schemes to defraud the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), federal stimulus programs authorized as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
According to court documents, the defendants allegedly obtained funds under the EIDL program and PPP by submitting false and fraudulent loan applications that collectively sought over $950,000. The defendants are alleged to have submitted applications on behalf of businesses and entities they purportedly owned, knowing that the applications contained materially false statements and misrepresentations concerning, among other things, the purported entities’ number of employees, gross revenues, costs of goods sold, average monthly payroll, and the date on which the entities were established. The defendants then allegedly used the loan funds for purposes not authorized by the EIDL program or PPP, including for personal expenses.
Below are the 10 defendants and their charges:
If convicted, they each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each wire fraud count.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Kevin G. Ritz for the Western District of Tennessee, Special Agent in Charge Mark H. Morini Jr. of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), Special Agent in Charge Edwin Bonano of the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General (FHFA-OIG), and Special Agent in Charge Anand Ramlall of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General (FDIC-OIG) made the announcement.
TIGTA, FHFA-OIG, and FDIC-OIG are investigating the case.
Trial Attorney Ariel Glasner of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Carroll Andre for the Western District of Tennessee are prosecuting the case.
In May 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 www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
The Fraud Section leads the Criminal Division’s prosecution of fraud schemes that exploit the PPP. Since the inception of the CARES Act, the Fraud Section has prosecuted over 200 defendants in more than 130 criminal cases and has seized over $78 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 www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/ppp-fraud.
Anyone with information about attempted fraud concerning COVID-19 is encouraged to report it to the Department of Justice by calling the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or filing an online complaint at www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.