United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Announces Participation in National Money Mule Initiative; Obtains Three Civil Injunctions Against Alleged Money Mules Involved in Lottery Scams
PHILADELPHIA –Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Kyle McLemore, 44, of Philadelphia, PA, was arrested and charged by Indictment with one count of mail fraud and two counts of theft of public money. In February 1999, the defendant was convicted on state charges of murdering an individual and shooting three others on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus after a high school basketball game. As alleged in the Indictment, shortly after he was released on parole from prison last year after serving 21 years for the murder charges, the defendant fraudulently applied for and obtained emergency unemployment benefits and loan funds related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed into law. The CARES Act created the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which provides unemployment benefits to individuals not eligible for regular unemployment compensation or extended unemployment benefits, including individuals, families, and businesses affected by COVID-19. The CARES Act also created the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, which provides low-rate emergency loan options for struggling businesses.
The Indictment alleges that McLemore took advantage of both programs, securing pandemic relief funds to which he was not entitled by filling out fraudulent applications. Specifically, in May 2020, less than a week after he was released from prison, the defendant is alleged to have submitted or caused another to submit a PUA application, falsely stating that he had lost his job due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and claiming a last day of work that actually fell during a time when he was still incarcerated. According to the Indictment, the defendant subsequently submitted or caused another to submit weekly PUA certifications, falsely reporting that he was ready and able to accept a job if offered during a period when he was actually in prison and unable to accept employment. As a result of his fraudulent application and weekly certifications, the defendant obtained $14,555 in PUA benefits.
The Indictment further charges that in June 2020, the defendant submitted an EIDL program application to the Small Business Administration (SBA), providing false information about an alleged tobacco business that he claimed to own during a time when he was still in prison, and denying that he had been on probation or parole within the last five years. To verify his application, the defendant submitted a forged business license from the City of Philadelphia. As a result of his fraudulent EIDL application, the defendant received funds amounting to nearly $125,000 from the SBA, before the SBA reversed a large portion of the ill-gotten loan proceeds.
“The PUA and EIDL programs established under the CARES Act are intended to help struggling Americans and small businesses stay afloat during the pandemic,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “Fraudsters who try to steal these funds are taking advantage of others’ misfortune – ripping them off while also ripping off all taxpayers who fund the programs. My Office will do everything in its power to ensure that coronavirus fraud scams are stopped and punished.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic brought massive economic upheaval for so many,” said Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “Defrauding the federal government programs created to mitigate that harm is despicable. Every dollar diverted to a scammer is a dollar not available for legitimate applicants in need. The FBI is committed to identifying, investigating, and bringing to justice anyone who thinks stealing taxpayer funds is the way to an easy payday.”
If convicted of all charges, the defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 40 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $750,000 fine, restitution, and a $300 special assessment.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Timothy Lanni and Eileen Castilla Zelek.
An indictment, information, or criminal complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Persons 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 Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
615 Chestnut Street, Suite 1250
Philadelphia, PA 19106
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