Maryland Man Charged with Fraudulently Obtaining More Than $500,000
NEWARK, N.J. – A Maryland man was arrested today on charges of fraudulently obtaining more than $500,000 in COVID-19 relief funds, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Mohamed Kamara, 40, of Greenbelt, Maryland, is charged by complaint with wire fraud. He is scheduled to appear by videoconference this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy J. Sullivan in Maryland federal court.
According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is a federal law designed to provide emergency financial assistance to Americans suffering the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act enables the Small Business Administration (SBA) to offer funding through the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) program to business owners negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unemployment Insurance (UI) is a joint state/federal program that provides unemployment insurance benefits (UIB) to eligible workers who were unemployed through no fault of their own.
From April 2020 and June 2020, six applications were made to the SBA for EIDLs. Representatives for some of the companies whose names were used to make the applications stated that their company did not make the application. In response to the applications, the SBA provided EIDLs collectively worth more than $500,000. Kamara received or attempted to receive funds in connection with each of the EIDLs.
From Jan. 1, 2020, to Sept. 7, 2020, an IP addresses associated with Kamara’s address was used to submit approximately 50 New Jersey UIB applications for 42 individuals. This resulted in New Jersey Department of Labor (NJDOL) authorizing benefits of approximately $163,000. The IP address also was used to access numerous accounts that received funds as a result of UIB applications submitted to NJDOL from other IP addresses. Those accounts received approximately $34,000 in UIBs.
The charge of wire fraud is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of the greater of $250,000, twice the gross profits or twice the gross loss suffered by the victims of his offense, whichever is greatest.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, and special agents of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael C. Mikulka in New York, with the investigation leading to today’s arrest. She also thanked the FBI Baltimore Field Office; the Small Business Administration, and the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Kogan of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Cybercrime Unit in Newark.
The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.