Fifth Defendant Pleads Guilty To Scheme To Fraudulently Obtain Over $30 Million In Covid-Relief Loans
Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that ALVIN MAXWELL pled guilty today to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with a scheme to fraudulently obtain over $30 million in Government-guaranteed loans designed to provide relief to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. MAXWELL is the fifth defendant to plead guilty in the case. Four other defendants—APOCALYPSE BELLA, a/k/a “Dias Yumba,” MACKENZY TOUSSAINT, a/k/a “Mack,” BRANDON JACKSON, and AMOS MUNDENDI, a/k/a “Mos,” a/k/a “El Ashile Mundi”—pled guilty earlier this year. TOUSSAINT, JACKSON, and MUNDENDI each pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on March 8, March 30, and April 4, 2022, respectively. BELLA pled guilty to one count of money laundering conspiracy on March 21, 2022. All of the defendants pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer.
According to allegations in the Complaints, the Indictments, and the Superseding Information, filed in the case:
APOCALYPSE BELLA, a/k/a “Dias Yumba,” MACKENZY TOUSSAINT, a/k/a “Mack,” AMOS MUNDENDI, a/k/a “Mos,” a/k/a “El Ashile Mundi,” and ALVIN MAXWELL, were involved in an extensive scheme to prepare and submit fraudulent applications to the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) and to at least one company which processes loan applications under the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”), in order to fraudulently obtain at least approximately $30 million in government-guaranteed loans for various companies through the PPP, designed to provide financial relief to qualifying companies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This scheme resulted in the approval of fraudulently procured loans for two companies (“Company-1” and “Company-2”), both located in the Southern District of New York, totaling approximately $4 million, and the distribution of the proceeds of these fraudulently obtained funds to a series of bank accounts located in the United States and elsewhere, including bank accounts controlled by TOUSSAINT and BELLA.
The PPP loan applications for Company-1 and Company-2 were false, containing lies designed to maximize proceeds paid to the fraud scheme participants. Specifically, applications for both Company-1 and Company-2 contained material differences from loan applications submitted for both companies for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (“EIDL”) program just months earlier. For instance, the PPP loan application for Company-1, dated on or about June 30, 2020, represented that Company-1 had over 100 employees. However, an earlier EIDL loan application for Company-1, dated on or about March 30, 2020, represented that Company-1 had only four employees.
BELLA, TOUSSAINT, and MUNDENDI devised and executed this fraudulent scheme by conspiring with individuals who owned, operated or otherwise were affiliated with businesses, such as Company-1 and Company-2.
In addition, TOUSSAINT and JACKSON engaged in a scheme to submit fraudulent Economic Injury Disaster Loan (“EIDL”) applications, often through the use of synthetic identities (i.e., a fake name used in combination with true personal identifying information of another person). JACKSON and TOUSSAINT frequently used Social Security Numbers belonging to minors as part of the synthetic identities created for use in the fraud scheme. At least approximately $1.7 million in EIDL loan funds were disbursed as a result of this fraud scheme.
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TOUSSAINT, MUNDENDI, MAXWELL, and JACKSON, all residents of Texas, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. BELLA, an Oregon resident, pled guilty to one count of money laundering conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.
BELLA is scheduled to be sentenced at 10:30 a.m. on July 7, 2022. TOUSSAINT is scheduled to be sentenced at 10:30 a.m. on June 16, 2022. JACKSON is scheduled to be sentenced at 11:00 a.m. on August 17, 2022. MAXWELL is scheduled to be sentenced at 11:00 a.m. on September 8, 2022. MUNDENDI is scheduled to be sentenced at 11:00 a.m. on September 9, 2022. Each of the defendants will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer.
Mr. Williams praised the outstanding work of the FBI, SBA-OIG and IRS-CI.
The case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Dina McLeod is in charge of the prosecution.