Two charged in $1.2 million COVID-19 relief fraud conspiracy
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas
HOUSTON – A Houston area brother and sister have been indicted for submitting fraudulent COVID-19 relief loans, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.
Jonathan Flores, 31, Willis, and Bianca April Flores, 29, Houston, are expected to make their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christina A. Bryan at 2 p.m.
The six-count indictment, returned Nov. 29, alleges both committed one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and five counts of wire fraud.
According to the indictment, Jonathan and Bianca Flores conspired to submit nine false and fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan applications. They allegedly falsified the number of employees and the average monthly payroll expenses of the applicant businesses.
According to the charges, Jonathan and Bianca Flores fraudulently obtained approximately $1.2 million in COVID-19 relief funds.
If convicted, each face up to five years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, while wire fraud carries a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin R. Martin is prosecuting the case.
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.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.
Updated December 6, 2023