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Press Release

Jefferson Parish Woman Sentenced for Defrauding Buyer of Personal Protective Equipment

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

NEW ORLEANS - CYNTHIA CARONNA, a resident of Jefferson Parish, was sentenced on November 28, 2023, for conspiring with her co-defendant, Frank LaBruzzo, and with a resident of the United Kingdom, to defraud a business that was seeking to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, announced U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans.

U.S. District Judge Greg G. Guidry sentenced CARONNA to five years’ probation, six months of home detention, and $1,012,500 in restitution.

CARONNA and the UK resident formed a business venture to offer the sale of PPE, and selected LaBruzzo to serve as the venture’s escrow agent. LaBruzzo (an attorney employed as an investigator with the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office) was presented to would-be buyers of PPE, as a trustworthy escrow agent who would safeguard the buyer’s purchase funds in an escrow account until the PPE was satisfactorily delivered.

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

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 Office

United States Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana

United States Department of Justice

Updated November 29, 2023

Financial Fraud