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Press Release

Attorney Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Business Seeking to Buy Personal Protective Equipment

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS – FRANK LABRUZZO pleaded guilty on October 31, 2023, to a bill of information for conspiring with co-defendant, Cynthia Caronna, and a United Kingdom resident, to defraud a business seeking to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, announced U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans.

Caronna and the UK resident formed a business to sell PPE, and selected LABRUZZO to be the business’s escrow agent. LABRUZZO, an attorney employed as an investigator with the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, was represented to PPE buyers as a trustworthy escrow agent.  Buyers were told that LABRUZZO would safeguard their purchase funds in an escrow account until the PPE was satisfactorily delivered.

According to court records, the conspirators agreed that LABRUZZO would disburse the  buyers’ funds despite the buyers having neither received PPE nor consented to the disbursements.  The conspirators also agreed that each of them would receive portions of the buyers’ funds without the buyers’ knowledge or consent.

U.S. District Judge Greg G. Guidry scheduled LABRUZZO’s sentencing for February 6, 2023. Conspiracy is punishable by up to five years imprisonment, followed by up to three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000, and a mandatory $100 special assessment fee.

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

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:

This case was being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Chandra Menon of the Public Integrity Unit is in charge of the prosecution.


Shane M. Jones

Public Information Officer

United States Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana

United States Department of Justice

Updated November 1, 2023

Financial Fraud