Miami Church Pastor Sentenced to 48 Months in Federal Prison for Defrauding Paycheck Protection Program
MIAMI – Reinaldo Miralles Gonzalez, 52, of Doral, Florida, has been sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $123,000 in restitution after pleading guilty late last year to conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
Gonzalez was part of a fraud scheme that targeted mostly elderly users of a money transfer service. Fraudsters would contact users of the service, identify themselves as FBI agents (using the names of real agents), and scare the users into believing that the FBI had identified them as financial supporters of terrorism. Threatening legal action, and in one case deportation, the fraudsters tricked the victims into mailing blank money orders to addresses associated with Gonzalez. Some victims were repeatedly victimized and forced to take funds from retirement accounts to satisfy the demands.
U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida and Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey B. Veltri of the FBI, Miami Field Office, made the announcement.
This case was investigated by FBI Miami, as part of the Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lois Foster-Steers prosecuted it. Assistant U.S. Attorney Daren Grove is handling asset forfeiture.
Combatting elder abuse and financial fraud targeted at seniors is a key priority of the Department of Justice. The mission of the Department’s Elder Justice Initiative is to support and coordinate the Department’s enforcement and programmatic efforts to combat elder abuse, neglect and financial fraud and scams that target our nation’s seniors. To learn more visit https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice. The public is encouraged to report their victimization and suspected fraud schemes. To find the right reporting agency visit https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice/roadmap or call the victim connect hotline at 1-855-484-2846.
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-20456.
Public Affairs Unit
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida