Tampa Man Sentenced To 30 Months In Federal Prison For COVID-19 Fraud
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida
Tampa, FL – U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle has sentenced Jorge Gutierrez Echeverria (34, Tampa) to two years and six months in federal prison for wire fraud in connection with his fraudulent receipt of Covid-19 funds. The court also ordered Gutierrez Echeverria to forfeit $149,900, which are traceable to proceeds of the offense. Gutierrez Echeverria had pleaded guilty on August 11, 2022.
According to court documents, in July 2020, Gutierrez Echeverria falsely and fraudulently claimed in a federal application for Covid-19 funding that he was the sole proprietor of a business suffering an economic injury due to the Covid-19 pandemic when in fact Gutierrez Echeverria had no such business. He further claimed that he had no felony convictions when in fact he had two felony convictions. Gutierrez Echeverria submitted a fraudulent 2018 tax return, including a fraudulent Schedule C, in support of his application as purported proof that his claimed business was real. As a result of his false and fraudulent representations, Gutierrez Echeverria received a $149,900 loan to which he was not entitled. He spent the money on extravagant personal expenses.
“The Secret Service remains committed to holding individuals accountable that attempt to exploit taxpayer funded pandemic relief programs,” said Special Agent in Charge Robert Engel of the United States Secret Service – Tampa Field Office. “The outcome of this case is the direct result of the coordination with our partners at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.”
This case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer L. Peresie.
Updated February 16, 2023