Coral Springs Police Officer Charged with COVID Relief Fraud, Using Loan Money to Service and Repair His Vintage Car
Miami, Florida – A South Florida federal grand jury has charged a Coral Springs police officer with fraudulently applying to the U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) for a COVID-19 relief advance grant and low-interest loan.
According to the Indictment unsealed today in federal district court, Jason Scott Carter, 44, of Boca Raton, submitted a fraudulent Economic Injury Disaster Loan (“EIDL”) application and loan agreement on behalf of Jason S. Carter, Inc., a South Florida business he allegedly owned and operated. That application falsely and fraudulently certified, among other things, that during the twelve 12 months prior to January 31, 2020, the business had gross revenues of $100,000, according to the Indictment. In reality, the business had only minimal gross revenues during that period. The Indictment also charges Carter with falsely and fraudulently certifying that he would use the funds only for business expenses to alleviate economic injury that the COVID-19 pandemic caused to the business. In fact, according to the charges, Carter spent more than $21,000 of the SBA loan money at a car repair and detailing company for luxury vehicles and high-end auto parts.
The Indictment charges Carter with one count of wire fraud. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Carter made his initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce E. Reinhart. He was released on bond, pending trial.
Juan Antonio Gonzalez, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Omar Perez Aybar, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Miami Regional Office, and David Walker, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Tampa, announced the charges.
HHS-OIG, Miami Regional Office (Tampa) and FBI Tampa investigated this matter. Assistant U.S. Attorney Will J. Rosenzweig is prosecuting the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Laserna is handling asset forfeiture.
Indictments contain mere allegations and defendants are innocent unless and until found guilty in a court of law
In March 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act was enacted. It was designed to provide emergency financial assistance to the millions of Americans suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other sources of relief, the CARES Act authorized and provided funding to the SBA to provide Economic Injury Disaster Loans (“EIDLs”) to eligible small businesses, including sole proprietorships and independent contractors, experiencing substantial financial disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic to allow them to meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could otherwise have been met had the disaster not occurred. EIDL applications were submitted directly to the SBA via the SBA’s on-line application website, and the applications were processed and the loans funded for qualifying applicants directly by the SBA.
On May 17, 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 (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov, under case number 22-cr-80094.