United States Recovers $8.4 Million In Fraudulent COVID Relief Funds From Family
Orlando, Florida – Acting United States Attorney Karin Hoppmann announces that the United States has obtained a final civil judgment ordering the forfeiture of $8,417,261.38 in proceeds from bank fraud and money laundering offenses related to COVID Relief Fraud.
According to court documents, it is alleged that in April 2020, Joshua Edwards, Joy Edwards, Evan Edwards, and Mary Jane Edwards defrauded the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) out of millions of dollars in coronavirus relief funds. Specifically, Joshua Edwards, on behalf of ASLAN International Ministry, Inc., submitted a false and fraudulent loan application seeking funds from the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”). Once the PPP loan was obtained, members of the Edwards family misused the funds by attempting to purchase a $3.7 million luxury home in the Four Seasons Private Residence community at Walt Disney World Resort. The remaining funds were transferred among multiple bank accounts held by the conspirators in an attempt to hide and conceal their whereabouts. Law enforcement was able to seize all of the fraudulently obtained funds before they were dissipated. A request will be made to the Department of Justice’s Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture Section to remit the forfeited funds back to the SBA.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act is a federal law enacted March 2020. It is designed to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief provided by the CARES Act is the authorization of up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and certain other expenses through the PPP. In April 2020, Congress authorized over $300 billion in additional PPP funding.
This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nicole Andrejko.