Brooklyn Man Pleads Guilty to Sabotage of NYPD Vehicle and Covid-19 Related Fraud
Defendant Cut Brake Line of NYPD Vehicle and Stole Thousands of Dollars Earmarked for Small Businesses Suffering Economic Effects of the Pandemic
Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, Jeremy Trapp pleaded guilty before United States Magistrate Judge Cheryl L. Pollak to one count of destruction of a vehicle for his cutting a brake line of a New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) van during a time of anti-law enforcement protests in the summer of 2020, and one count of wire fraud in connection with the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (“EIDL”) program.
Mark J. Lesko, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Dermot F. Shea, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the guilty pleas.
“With his admissions of guilt today, Trapp will face the consequences of his flagrantly lawless and fraudulent conduct, first, in endangering the lives of police officers by sabotaging one of their vehicles, and second, by lining his pockets with stolen government funds intended to provide relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.” stated Acting United States Attorney Lesko. “This Office and its law enforcement partners will bring to justice any individual who deliberately jeopardizes the safety of the police and steals funds from government programs intended to help deserving recipients.”
As set forth in court filings and today’s proceeding, on July 17, 2020, Trapp crawled under a marked NYPD van parked near Fourth Avenue and 42nd Street in Sunset Park and partially severed a line that is part of the NYPD Van’s anti-lock braking system, which is similar in appearance to, and in the same location as, the NYPD vehicle’s main brake line. A malfunctioning anti-lock braking system adversely impacts a driver’s ability to stop and maintain control of a vehicle in an emergency.
In addition, in June 2020, Trapp submitted a fraudulent EIDL loan and grant application. The EIDL program provides qualifying small businesses with low-interest loans. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act expanded EIDL to provide economic support to help offset the temporary loss of revenue experienced by businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the application, Trapp claimed that he was the sole proprietor of a car wash business located at his home address in Brooklyn, which, in reality, is a multi-unit residential building. Trapp further represented that he employed 10 individuals and that his gross revenue for the 12 months prior to the COVID-19 pandemic was $150,000. Based on Trapp’s false representations, the Small Business Administration approved a $42,500 loan and $10,000 grant to Trapp, and these funds were deposited into Trapp’s bank account.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s National Security and Cybercrime Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Francisco J. Navarro and Sara K. Winik are in charge of the prosecution.
Brooklyn, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket Nos. 20-CR-308 and 20-CR-454