SALT LAKE CITY- Giuseppe Mirenda, 27, of Salt Lake City, was charged by a federal grand jury in the District of Utah with fraudulently obtaining more than $1.8 million in Economic Injury Disaster Loans (“EIDL”) authorized by Congress under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act ("CARES Act").
As part of the CARES Act, Congress authorized the U.S. Small Business Association ("SBA") to provide EIDL loans of up to $2 million to eligible small businesses experiencing substantial financial disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the terms of the EIDL program, proceeds of the loans could only be used as working capital for the businesses to alleviate economic injury caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to allegations contained in the federal indictment, Giuseppe Mirenda is the partial owner of five Utah restaurants known generally as “Sicilia Mia,” in addition to being a partial owner of a business known as Sicilia Restaurant Management. According to the indictment, Mirenda submitted six fraudulent EIDL loan applications to the SBA between March 30, 2020, and June 24, 2020, and obtained $1,889,400 dollars in EIDL loan proceeds. The first four loan applications required that Mirenda list all owners of the applicant businesses and whether they were U.S. citizens. The second two loan applications required Mirenda to list all persons who owned 20% or more of the applicant business and whether they were U.S. citizens. In these 2020 EIDL loan applications, Mirenda falsely represented that he was the 100% owner of each of the applicant businesses knowing that two of his family members, who lived in the U.S. without legal immigration status, each owned at least 33% of each of the applicant businesses. By omitting these business partners from the applications, Mirenda avoided having to disclose that these family members were living in the U.S. illegally. Under the terms of the EIDL loan program, the fact that his business partners were living in the U.S. illegally would have disqualified each of the businesses from receiving EIDL proceeds.
The indictment further alleges, that in addition to fraudulently obtaining the EIDL loans, Mirenda used the proceeds from these loans for approximately $1.2 million in unlawful purposes, including the purchase of a $610,204.85 home in West Jordan; a $518,346.46 house in Las Vegas; a Jaguar F-Pace SUV purchased for $16,058; a BMW-M3 luxury car purchased for $26,723; and $39,000 in cryptocurrency purchased from Robinhood and Coinbase.
An initial appearance is scheduled for this matter on August 23, 2022, in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Todd Bouton from the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah. This case was investigated by the SBA-Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) and the FBI’s Salt Lake City Field Office.
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.
An Indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.