Kanawha County Man Pleads Guilty to COVID-19 Relief Fraud Scheme
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of West Virginia
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Sean Patrick Boyd Jr., 26, of Dunbar, pleaded guilty today to receipt of stolen money. Boyd admitted to a scheme to defraud the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) of $20,832 in COVID-19 relief loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).
According to court documents and statements made in court, on April 18, 2021, Boyd applied for a PPP loan on behalf of his purported business, “Sean Boyd.” Boyd falsely stated in his application that “Sean Boyd” was in operation on February 15, 2020, which was a requirement to qualify for a PPP loan. Boyd admitted that “Sean Boyd” was fictitious and was not a registered business entity in West Virginia at the time he applied for the loan. Businesses applying for PPP loans were also required to provide documentation showing their prior gross income from either 2019 or 2020. Boyd admitted that he submitted a false IRS Form 1040, Schedule C, stating that “Sean Boyd” had earned $99,996 in gross income during 2019.
Boyd submitted the loan application electronically from West Virginia and it was uploaded to servers in Nebraska for processing. Boyd’s loan application was approved and $20,832 was electronically transferred to his personal bank account in West Virginia. Boyd admitted that before he received the fraudulent loan, his bank account balance was $12.47. On May 24, 2021, Boyd withdrew $10,000 of the fraudulent loan proceeds from his bank’s branch in Nitro.
The CARES Act, enacted in March 2020, offered emergency financial assistance to Americans suffering from the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This assistance included forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and certain other expenses through the PPP.
Boyd is scheduled to be sentenced on February 7, 2024, and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. Boyd also owes $23,817.79 in restitution.
United States Attorney Will Thompson made the announcement and commended the investigative work of the United States Secret Service, the West Virginia State Police – Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), and the West Virginia State Auditor’s Office (WVSAO) Public Integrity and Fraud Unit (PIFU).
Senior United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr. presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan T. Storage is prosecuting the case.
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.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:23-cr-123.
Updated November 21, 2023