Three South Florida Men Sentenced for Conspiring to Launder Fraudulently Obtained Covid-19 Relief Money and Proceeds from Business Email Compromise Schemes
Miami, Florida – A South Florida federal district judge sentenced three Broward County residents to prison terms this week for conspiring with each other to launder proceeds obtained from business email compromise schemes and fraudulently obtained Covid-19 relief loans.
Jimpcy One, 35, was sentenced to 36 months’ imprisonment. Frantz Guillaume, Jr. a/k/a Sandro Saintfloeur, 44, was sentenced to 46 months in prison. Gousman Lemy, 43, was sentenced to 51 months in prison. In addition, they were each ordered to pay approximately $1.8 million in restitution.
A business email compromise scheme is a type of computer intrusion that occurs when an employee of a company is fooled into interacting with an email message that appears to be, but is not, legitimate. The bogus email usually contains either an attachment or a link to a malicious website or program. When an unwitting user clicks on either the link or the attachment, it releases some form of malware (i.e., a virus, spyware, or other program application) that subsequently infects the employee’s email and/or computer. The malware may affect an employee’s individual account or spread throughout the computer network. The malware, once executed, can harvest information including but not limited to credentials and passwords, thereby giving the intruder access to sensitive company information.
According to court documents, in July of 2017, Lemy and Guillaume laundered a little over $425,000 obtained from a business email compromise of a Texas based university. Then, in 2019, One joined Lemy, and Guillaume in laundering over $900,000 obtained from a business email compromise of another U.S. based victim company. In each business email compromise scheme, co-conspirators sent false and fraudulent emails from a hacked account which tricked the victims into wiring money into accounts controlled by the defendants and their co-conspirators. One, Gousman, and Lemy then sought to conceal the origin of this fraudulently obtained money by transferring it among the bank accounts of various shell companies that One, Gousman, and Lemy controlled.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States in 2020, One, Gousman, and Lemy allegedly initiated a new fraud scheme using existing shell companies from the email compromise scheme, as well as newly created and reactivated shell companies. Defendants allegedly submitted false and fraudulent loan applications under two U.S. government relief programs authorized by the CARES Act to help small businesses and their employees survive the Covid-19 economic crisis: the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (“EIDL”). In June and July 2020, through false submissions in the names of their shell companies, One, Gousman, and Lemy fraudulently applied for and received close to $2 million in PPP and EIDL funds, which was laundered amongst the co-conspirators.
Juan Antonio Gonzalez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami; Kyle A. Myles, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General (FDIC-OIG), Atlanta Region; and Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Inspector General (SBA-OIG), Eastern Regional Office announced the sentences imposed by U.S. District Judge Rodolfo A. Ruiz, who sits in Ft. Lauderdale.
FBI Miami, FDIC-OIG, and SBA-OIG handled the investigation, with assistance from the United States Secret Service Miami Field Office and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration Cybercrimes Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brooke Watson is prosecuting the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Grosnoff is handling 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 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 no. 21-cr-60126.