Philadelphia Attorney Charged With Pandemic Relief Fraud
SCRANTON- The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that on December 13, 2021, Jonathan Olivetti, age 41, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was charged by criminal information with wire fraud in connection with a scheme to obtain COVID-19 pandemic relief money he was not entitled to receive.
According to United States Attorney John C. Gurganus, the information alleges that between June 18, 2020 and February 2021, Olivetti, a licensed attorney, applied for two Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and two Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) on behalf of Olivetti Law, LLC. Both loan programs were authorized or expanded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act -- a federal law enacted in March 2020 that provided emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans suffering financial difficulties from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With respect to the PPP loans, Olivetti allegedly made materially false representations by inflating the payroll of Olivetti Law, LLC in the on-line applications and received $41,600 based upon those false representations. In addition, Olivetti made application for two two Economic Injury Disaster Loans (“EIDL”) which were to provide low-interest financing (including forgivable $10,000 advances) to small businesses experiencing substantial financial disruption resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Olivetti’s EIDL loan applications each sought approximately $62,500 on behalf of Olivetti Law, LLC. The applications contained inflated gross receipts of Olivetti Law and ultimately were not approved by the SBA.
On May 17, 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, among other methods, 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 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.
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jenny P. Roberts is prosecuting the case.
Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.
A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
The maximum penalty under federal law for this offense is 20 years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.