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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Nevada

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Las Vegas Man Sentenced To Prison For Committing COVID Relief Fraud While On Pretrial Release

LAS VEGAS – A Las Vegas resident was sentenced today to one year and nine months in prison for filing fraudulent loan applications that sought over $100,000 in loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

Keyawn Lloyd Cook Jr. (27) pleaded guilty on March 9, 2022 to one count of wire fraud. In addition to imprisonment, U.S. District Judge Gloria M. Navarro sentenced Cook to three years of supervised release.

According to court documents, Cook — while on pretrial release for an attempted robbery charge — submitted at least five fraudulent loan applications over a 15-month period for Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) funding and for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding. As part of the scheme, Cook submitted loan applications in the names of multiple fake businesses claiming to operate in various industries. Cook falsely claimed to have between nine and 12 employees in applications for EIDL funding and, in his PPP application, he falsely claimed gross revenues of $50,000 by a non-existent barber shop. In total, Cook sought to fraudulently obtain over $100,000 in COVID relief funds for which he was not eligible.

In a separate case, Cook was sentenced in March 2022 to five years in prison for an attempted robbery during an armored car delivery to a bank in 2019.

U.S. Attorney Jason M. Frierson for the District of Nevada; Special Agent in Charge Spencer L. Evans for the FBI; Special Agent in Charge Weston King for the Small Business Administration Office of the Inspector General’s (SBA OIG) Western Region Office; Special Agent in Charge Albert Childress for the IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI); and Acting Special Agent in Charge Cory Nootnagel for the Western Region, Office of Inspector General for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (FRB-OIG) made the announcement.

This case was investigated by the FBI, SBA OIG, IRS-CI, FRB-OIG, and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jessica Oliva and Kimberly Frayn prosecuted the case.

In May 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 Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.

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Topic(s): 
Coronavirus
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated June 8, 2022