Federal Grand Jury Indicts 27 Individuals for Roles in a Fraudulent Scheme to Obtain COVID-19 Relief Funds
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Ivelisse Rivera-Padilla, Carla Carrillo-Torres, and VIP Healthcare Solutions, Inc. (“VIP Healthcare”) pleaded guilty before United States District Court Chief Judge Raul M. Arias Marxuach.
VIP Healthcare pleaded guilty to making a false statement in connection with a Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loan application, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1014. As admitted in Court by VIP Healthcare’s secretary, Carla Carrillo-Torres, the company falsely certified the accuracy of their April 7, 2020, PPP loan application for $249,755.35 and failed to identify additional owners of VIP Healthcare that owned more than 20% of the company.
Carla Carrillo-Torres separately pleaded guilty to violating 15 U.S.C. § 645(c) and admitted to submitting the fraudulent PPP loan application on behalf of VIP Healthcare. Additionally, Carla Carrillo-Torres admitted to answering “no” when required to disclose if any owner of VIP Healthcare was presently involved in any bankruptcy proceeding. At the time, Carla Carrillo-Torres knew that her partner, Ivelisse Rivera-Padilla, owned more than 20% of VIP Healthcare and was involved in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy proceeding. The pending bankruptcy would have precluded VIP Healthcare from obtaining the PPP loan if disclosed to the United States Small Business Administration.
Ivelisse Rivera-Padilla, the President of VIP Healthcare and a licensed attorney, pleaded guilty to 14 counts of bankruptcy fraud for making materially false representations in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 157.
Ivelisse Rivera-Padilla concealed property and income and failed to disclose all of the bankruptcy estate during the course of her bankruptcy proceedings, including, but not limited to, the creation, operation, ownership, and control of VIP Healthcare, which operated the “Job Andujar” Diagnostic and Treatment Center in the Municipality of Cataño until approximately March 25, 2023.
Ivelisse Rivera-Padilla also concealed the purchase of an apartment located at Condominium Golf & Playa, Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, for $270,000, and a 2,159.5152 square-meter plot of land located at Rainforest and Sea View Resort in Luquillo, Puerto Rico, for $275,000. Rivera-Padilla further concealed her interest in another corporate entity known as Farmacia Libertad, as well as income from a rental property business through AirBnB.
The defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on January 17, 2024. Both Carla Carrillo-Torres and Ivelisse Rivera-Padilla have agreed to forfeit any interest in the two concealed properties as a part of their plea agreement, in additional to the sentence to be imposed by United States District Court Chief Judge Raul M. Arias Marxuach.
U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow of the District of Puerto Rico; Mary Ida Townson, U.S. Trustee for Georgia, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands (Region 21); and Joseph González, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI San Juan Field Office made the announcement.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Trustee Program are investigating the case.
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney José Capó Iriarte and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney José C. Díaz Vega from the Office of the U.S. Trustee are prosecuting the case.