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Press Release

Two Men in $7 Million COVID Fraud Scheme Plead Guilty

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

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Manassas and a Bealton man pleaded guilty today to engaging in a joint scheme to defraud banks and the Small Business Administration of over $7 million in COVID relief funds.

According to court documents, from approximately April 2020 to March 2021, Bennie Earl Magee, 54, falsified payroll records, created fake IRS business tax returns, and submitted to lenders and the SBA falsified revenue reports of multiple companies to obtain over $7 million in PPP and EIDL loans for himself and others. Gilcher, 45, obtained $1.4 million of the total, but wrote checks back to Magee’s company, Bull Run Capital, totaling approximately $620,000. Magee used the PPP funds to invest in crypto currency, home renovations, to purchase vehicles, and to pay other personal expenses.

Magee and Gilcher are scheduled to be sentenced on August 25. Magee faces a up to 20 years in prison, while Gilcher faces up to five years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Criminal Division; and Brian Miller, Inspector General for the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (SIGPR), made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton accepted the plea.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Russell L. Carlberg and Kathleen Robeson are prosecuting the case.

This case was investigated by an agent assigned to the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) Fraud Task Force. The PRAC was established to serve the American public by promoting transparency and facilitating coordinated oversight of the federal government’s COVID-19 pandemic response. The PRAC’s 21 member Inspectors General identify major risks that cross program and agency boundaries to detect fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement in the more than $5 trillion in COVID-19 spending. The PRAC Fraud Task Force brings together agents from 16 Inspectors General to investigate fraud involving a variety of programs, including the Paycheck Protection Program. Task force agents who are detailed to the PRAC receive expanded authority to investigate pandemic fraud as well as tools and training to support their investigations.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case Nos. 1:23-cr-86 and 1:23-cr-91.

Updated May 26, 2023

Financial Fraud