Palm Beach County Man Sentenced To Two Years In Federal Prison For COVID Relief Fraud
Fort Myers, Florida – U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Barber has sentenced Al Clint LaRoche (43, Palm Beach County) to two years in federal prison for bank fraud. As part of his sentence, the court also entered an order of forfeiture in the amount of $1,078,652.50, which were the proceeds of the bank fraud. LaRoche had pleaded guilty on January 30, 2023.
According to court documents, between April 2020 and April 2021, LaRoche submitted false and fraudulent First Draw and Second Draw Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications to a financial institution through a financial services and technology company based in Naples for his business – Bornwild, LLC. The loan applications contained numerous false representations and certifications, including Bornwild’s average monthly payroll, number of employees, and that the loan funds would be used for authorized purposes.
To qualify for each PPP loan and in support of his fraudulent loan applications, LaRoche submitted fake and fictitious quarterly federal tax returns (IRS Form 941s) for Bornwild that contained false representations about the business’s quarterly payroll expenses. LaRoche’s false and fraudulent representations caused the PPP lender to approve and fund a First Draw and Second Draw PPP loan, resulting in the deposit of approximately $1,078,652 into bank accounts LaRoche controlled. LaRoche then used the funds for unauthorized purposes and for his own personal enrichment, including the purchase of a Mercedes Benz SUV, jewelry, hotel and travel stays, various retail purchases, and more than $350,000 in cash withdrawals.
This case was investigated by the FBI. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Trent Reichling.
In May 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the department’s response to the pandemic, please visit 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 via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.