Former CEO Sentenced to Prison for COVID-19 Relief Fraud and Money Laundering
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Florida
MIAMI – On Feb. 8, Gregory Scott Keough, 57, of Wellington, Florida, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for submitting fraudulent loan applications seeking approximately $2 million in forgivable Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. These loans are guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).
From March 2020 to Aug. 2020, Keough and conspirator Derek Acree, an attorney, submitted one fraudulent EIDL application and three fraudulent PPP loan applications on behalf of entities they both controlled. Of the funded loans, Keough was responsible for approximately $1,612,222. Keough individually submitted four additional false loan applications on behalf of companies he controlled as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Two of those applications were funded and Keough received $309,555 in CARES Act proceeds. These companies included National Financial Holdings Inc., NFH Florida LLC, DBA Finova Financial LLC, NFH Partners LLC, Grupo Keough LLC, Enclave Partners LLC, and National Financial Holding Technology LLC. The loans misrepresented the number of employees, payroll expenses, and gross revenues.
After obtaining the fraudulent loan proceeds, Keough transferred some of it to other bank account, paid multiple credit cards, as well as used to purchase and install storm windows for his home, private jet travel, and private school tuition.
Keough had entered a guilty plea to two counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering in Nov. 2023. In addition to prison, Keough was ordered to pay $1,922,355 million in restitution.
Acree was charged separately and pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in Oct. 2022 (Case No. 22-cr-80157). Acree was sentenced, in Jan. 2023, to 41 months in prison and ordered to pay $1,262,600 million in restitution.
Restitution was paid in full jointly by both Acree and Keough.
U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida and Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey B. Veltri of FBI, Miami Field Office, made the announcement.
FBI West Palm Beach investigated the case. The Office of State Attorney Dave Aronberg for the 15th Judicial Circuit – Palm Beach County and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office PPP Fraud Task Force provided invaluable assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robin W. Waugh prosecuted it and Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Pastor handled asset forfeiture.
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 information on the department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
On September 15, 2022, the Attorney General selected the Southern District of Florida’s U.S. Attorney’s Office to head one of three national COVID-19 Fraud Strike Force Teams. The Department of Justice established the Strike Force to enhance existing efforts to combat and prevent COVID-19 related financial fraud. 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 23-cr-80154.
Public Affairs Unit
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida
Updated February 9, 2024