South Florida Man Charged with COVID-19 Relief Fraud Allegedly Spends Loan Money on Exotic Sport Cars
MIAMI — Andre Lorquet, 38, of Miami made his first appearance today in federal magistrate court and was charged with fraudulently obtaining COVID-19 relief loans and grants under the Paycheck Protection Program, the Economic Injury Disaster Relief Program, and the Shuttered Venue Operator Grant.
According to allegations in the indictment, Lorquet submitted fraudulent applications seeking more than $4.7 million in COVID-19 relief funds. In the applications, Lorquet falsified his revenue and payroll and submitted fraudulent IRS tax forms. In addition, Lorquet is alleged to have submitted documents pretending to be, and in the name of, a certified tax preparer.
According to the charges, Lorquet received approximately $4.4 million in COVID-19 relief funds from the fraudulent scheme and is alleged to have used the proceeds to purchase—among other things—a Tesla Plaid, a Tesla Model S, a Lamborghini Urus, and a Porsche Panamera GTS.
The indictment charges Lorquet with four counts of wire fraud, four counts of money laundering, and one count of aggravated identity theft. If convicted, he faces up to 22 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Juan Antonio Gonzalez, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Michael E. Buckley, acting Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement.
HSI, Miami Field Office, investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Bailyn is prosecuting it and Assistant U.S. Attorney G. Raemy Charest-Turken is handling asset forfeiture.
An Indictment is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls.