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Press Release

Sussex County Man Charged with Multimillion-Dollar COVID-19 Fraud Scheme

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

NEWARK N.J. – A Sussex County, New Jersey, man was indicted today for fraudulently obtaining millions of dollars in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Nikenson Jean Mathurin, aka “Nik Mathurin,” aka “Jean Mathurin”, 44, of Sparta, New Jersey, is charged with three counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. Mathurin was previously charged by complaint in relation to the same scheme.

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

From April 2020 through November 2022, Mathurin participated in a scheme to defraud a lender and the Small Business Administration to obtain federal COVID-19 emergency relief money by submitting several fraudulent PPP and EIDL applications on behalf of several purported businesses. Mathurin’s fraudulent applications included false information concerning, among other things, the applicant entities’ average monthly payroll, gross revenue, and number of employees, and fake supporting tax documents. As a result of his fraudulent applications, Mathurin unlawfully obtained millions of dollars in federal COVID-19 emergency relief money.

Each wire fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and the money laundering charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Each charge also carries a maximum fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain to the defendant or gross loss to the victim, whichever is greatest.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the of the Northeast Region of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Robert Manchak, and special agents of IRS – Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jenifer L. Piovesan, with the investigation leading to the indictment.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Stark and Fatime Meka Cano of the Economic Crimes Unit in Newark and Trial Attorney David D. Hamstra of the U.S Department of Justice’s Fraud Section.

The District of New Jersey COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Strike Force is one of five strike forces established throughout the United States by the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute COVID-19 fraud. The strike forces focus on large-scale, multi-state pandemic relief fraud perpetrated by criminal organizations and transnational actors. The strike forces are interagency law enforcement efforts, using prosecutor-led and data analyst-driven teams designed to identify and bring to justice those who stole pandemic relief funds.

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:

The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated July 3, 2024

Press Release Number: 24-255