Baltimore, Maryland – A federal grand jury has returned an indictment of Dinara Sosa, age 35, of Reisterstown, Maryland, and Elza Lipartiya, age 27, of Landsdale, Pennsylvania, for wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud relating to the submission of fraudulent claims for the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (“EIDL”) benefits under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act, enacted to provide emergency financial assistance to Americans suffering from the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The indictment was returned on August 8, 2023, and unsealed yesterday upon Sosa and Lipartiya’s arrests.
The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Joe Aiosa of the Office of Inspector General, U.S. Agency for International Development; Special Agent in Charge Andrew McKay of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration; and Special Agent in Charge Kareem A. Carter of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office.
According to the indictment, sisters Dinara Sosa and Elza Lipartiya, submitted over 25 PPP loan applications, and over 15 EIDL applications on behalf of multiple businesses, and provided false information to multiple financial institutions and the SBA in order to obtain COVID-19 benefits. The information included the submission of fraudulent IRS forms, false representations regarding the applying entity’s average monthly payroll and false representations regarding the number of employees of the purported businesses.
If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison for each count of wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. 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.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by an indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
The District of Maryland Strike Force is one of five strike forces established throughout the United States by the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute COVID-19 fraud, including fraud relating to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act. The CARES Act was designed to provide emergency financial assistance to Americans suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The strike forces focus on large-scale, multi-state pandemic relief fraud perpetrated by criminal organizations and transnational actors. The strike forces are interagency law enforcement efforts, using prosecutor-led and data analyst-driven teams designed to identify and bring to justice those who stole pandemic relief funds.
For more information on the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus. 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: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
As part of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) Task Force, this investigation was conducted by the USAO, USAID-OIG, TIGTA, and IRS-CI.
The PRAC was established to promote transparency and facilitate coordinated oversight of the federal government’s COVID-19 pandemic response. The PRAC’s 20 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, including spending via the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. This case was also supported by the PRAC’s Pandemic Analytics Center of Excellence, which applies the latest advances in analytic and forensic technologies to help OIGs and law enforcement pursue data-driven pandemic relief fraud investigations.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the USAID-OIG, TIGTA, and IRS-CI for their work in the investigation. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael F. Aubin and Harry M. Gruber who are prosecuting the cases.
For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit www.justice.gov/usao/md.
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