Defendant Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison for Sabotage of NYPD Vehicle and COVID-19 Related Fraud
Brooklyn Man Cut a Brake Line of NYPD Vehicle and Stole Thousands of Dollars Earmarked for Small Businesses Suffering Economic Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, Jeremy Trapp was sentenced by United States District Judge William F. Kuntz II to 18 months in prison for cutting a brake line of a New York City Police Department (NYPD) van and 18 months in prison for committing wire fraud in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic-related Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. The sentences will run concurrently. As part of the sentence, the Court ordered Trapp to pay $9,722.88 in restitution to the United States Small Business Administration.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Keechant L. Sewell, Commissioner, NYPD, announced the sentences.
“Today’s sentence shows that there are consequences for those who seek to harm our law enforcement officers and steal from our public assistance programs,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “In cutting a brake line on an NYPD vehicle, Jeremy Trapp showed a blatant disregard for the lives of police officers and residents of New York City who could have been killed or seriously injured by a runaway vehicle without brakes.”
“Jeremy Trapp’s contempt for the law is first demonstrated by his stealing money meant for people adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and is then exceeded by his disdain for those who enforce the law,” stated NYPD Commissioner Sewell. “Cutting the brake lines of an NYPD vehicle would not only threaten the safety of police officers – it would endanger the lives of anyone in that vehicle’s path. Any attempt to rationalize these actions as a protest against the government or law enforcement is the height of hypocrisy. I want to thank the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District, the New York Field Office of the FBI, and the NYPD’s Intelligence Bureau for their outstanding work on this case.”
As set forth in the 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, Brooklyn, 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 would adversely impact a driver’s ability to stop and maintain control of the van in an emergency.
Additionally, in June 2020, Trapp submitted a fraudulent Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (EIDL) loan and grant application. EIDL 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, a multi-unit residential building. Trapp further represented that he employed ten 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 (WFK)