St. Paul Man Charged With COVID-Relief Fraud, Money Laundering
United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald today announced the unsealing of a federal indictment charging KYLE WILLIAM BRENIZER, 32, with fraudulently obtaining $841,000 in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans intended to provide relief for small businesses affected by COVID-19. The indictment, which was returned under seal on August 19, 2020, charges BRENIZER with two counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering. BRENIZER, who was taken into custody earlier today, made his initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Becky R. Thorson in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minnesota. BRENIZER was ordered to remain in custody pending a formal detention and arraignment hearing, which is scheduled for Wednesday, August 26.
According to the allegations in the indictment, BRENIZER was the owner and manager of True-Cut Construction LLC (“True-Cut”), a contracting and construction company located in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. In August 2018, True-Cut and BRENIZER were ordered by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry to cease and desist from doing business and in December 2019, True-Cut’s contractor license expired and was never renewed.
According to the allegations in the indictment, on May 1, 2020, BRENIZER submitted a false and misleading PPP application in the name of True-Cut seeking approximately $841,000, but the application was denied. On May 12, 2020, BRENIZER again submitted a false and misleading PPP application in the name of True-Cut seeking approximately $841,000 in PPP funds. This time, in order to conceal his involvement, BRENIZER submitted the application under the name of another individual whom BRENIZER falsely claimed was the 90 percent owner of True-Cut. BRENIZER falsely stated that True-Cut’s average monthly payroll was $336,400 for approximately 30 employees. In support of both loan applications, BRENIZER caused to be submitted to the lender fraudulent supporting documentation, such as falsified bank statements and IRS documents. In addition, BRENIZER falsely certified that he was not subject to any pending criminal charges even though he was allegedly named in multiple felony charges pending in the State of Minnesota for such charges as check forgery, identify theft, and theft by swindle. Due to these various misrepresentations and omissions, on May 13, 2020, BRENIZER’s second application was approved, and he received $841,000 in PPP funds.
According to the allegations in the indictment, instead of using the PPP funds for permissible business expenses, BRENIZER transferred approximately $650,000 to a bank account unrelated to True-Cut and made a $29,000 payment to purchase a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, spent over $1,000 on golf expenses, among other retail and entertainment expenditures for his personal benefit.
The CARES Act is a federal law enacted on March 29, 2020, designed to provide emergency financial assistance to the millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief provided by the CARES Act was 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.
The PPP allows qualifying small-businesses and other organizations to receive loans with a maturity of two years and an interest rate of one percent. PPP loan proceeds must be used by businesses on payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. The PPP allows the interest and principal on the PPP loan to be forgiven if the business spends the loan proceeds on these expense items within a designated period of time after receiving the proceeds and uses at least a certain percentage of the PPP loan proceeds on payroll expenses.
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 Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by IRS – Criminal Investigations, the FBI, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – Office of Inspector General, and the Small Business Administration – Office of Inspector General.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew S. Ebert and Allison K. Ethen are prosecuting the case, with assistance from the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
KYLE WILLIAM BRENIZER, a/k/a Kyle Williams, 32
St. Paul, Minn.
- Wire fraud, 2 counts
- Money laundering, 2 counts
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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600
 The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.