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Press Release

Former Warren County Businessman Sentenced to Three Years in Prison for Fraudulently Obtaining $1.8 Million in COVID-19 Loans Meant for Small Businesses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – A Warren County, New Jersey, businessman was sentenced today to 36 months in prison for fraudulently obtaining nearly $1.8 million in federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger and Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr., of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division announced.

Rocco A. Malanga, 39, formerly of Hackettstown, New Jersey, pleaded guilty by videoconference on June 28, 2022, before U.S. District Judge Julien X. Neals to an information charging him with one count of bank fraud and one count of money laundering. Judge Neals imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court:

From April 2020 through August 2020, Malanga submitted false documentation to three lenders to fraudulently obtain approximately $1.8 million in federal COVID-19 emergency relief funds meant for distressed small businesses. He submitted at least three PPP loan applications on behalf of three different business entities in which he fabricated the number of employees employed by each business entity, as well as their average monthly payroll. Malanga then diverted some of the proceeds from the loans to fund a business that did not receive PPP loan funds. 

In addition to the prison term, Judge Neals sentenced Malanga to three years of supervised release and ordered $1.8 million in restitution and $1.8 million in forfeiture.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger and Assistant Attorney General Polite credited special agents of IRS – Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Tammy L. Tomlins; postal inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Newark, under the direction of Inspector in Charge Christopher A. Nielsen, Philadelphia Division; special agents of the Office of Inspector General for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, under the Direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Stephen Donnelly; special agents of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Patricia Tarasca, New York Region; and special agents of the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Sharon MacDermott, with the investigation leading to the today’s sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Blake Coppotelli of the District of New Jersey and Trial Attorney Della Sentilles of the Fraud Section of the Department of Justice.

Updated March 22, 2023

Press Release Number: 23-070