Miami Church Pastor Sentenced to 48 Months in Federal Prison for Defrauding Paycheck Protection Program
MIAMI – Gregory Dennis, 45, a former police officer with the City of Miami Police Department, has pled guilty to wire fraud in connection with two fraudulent applications for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans he submitted to a Small Business Administration (SBA) approved PPP lender while he was still employed with the City of Miami Police Department.
On March 28, 2021, Dennis submitted a false and fraudulent PPP loan application claiming to be a sole proprietor operating a cleaning service. The PPP loan application falsely represented his business’ 2020 gross income and in support of the application, he submitted a false and fraudulent IRS Form 1040, including a Schedule C, for tax year 2020. As a result of the false and fraudulent application, Dennis obtained a $20,833 PPP loan from a California-based SBA approved PPP lender.
On April 10, 2021, Dennis submitted a second false and fraudulent PPP loan application, this time seeking a second draw PPP loan. Once again, Dennis claimed to be a sole proprietor operating a cleaning service, and this second draw application also fraudulently represented his business’ 2020 gross income. This second draw application also was supported by the same false and fraudulent 2020 IRS Form 1040 and Schedule C that was used to fraudulently obtain the first PPP loan. Again, the fraudulent application was approved successfully, and Dennis received an additional $20,833 in second draw PPP loan proceeds from the same California-based lender.
Dennis is scheduled for sentencing on June 13, at 1:15 p.m. before U.S. District Judge William P. Dimitrouleas in Fort Lauderdale, where he faces a possible maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey B. Veltri of the FBI, Miami Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite, U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General (SBA-OIG), Investigations Division’s Eastern Region, announced the guilty plea.
The FBI’s Miami Area Corruption Task Force, which includes task force officers from the City of Miami Police Department’s Internal Affairs Section, and SBA-OIG investigated the case. U.S. Attorney Lapointe thanked the City of Miami Police Department and the Miami-Dade County Office of Inspector General for their invaluable assistance with this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward N. Stamm is prosecuting the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney G. Raemy Charest-Turken is handling asset forfeiture.
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.
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 click here.
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-60063.
Public Affairs Unit
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida