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Press Release

New Jersey man sentenced for COVID-19 fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of New York

BUFFALO, N.Y.-U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced today that James Okolo, 61, of West Orange, New Jersey, who was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, was sentenced to 12 months in prison by U.S. District Judge John L. Sinatra, Jr.

Assistant U.S. Attorney, Michael DiGiacomo, who handled the case, stated that Okolo and others devised a scheme to defraud the Small Business Administration out of over $700,000 in CARES Act money designated for businesses suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The scheme involved the submission of fraudulent Economic Injury Disaster loan applications under the names of various businesses. Okolo’s role in the scheme was to find a bank account where the fraudulent loan proceeds were to be deposited. 

The sentencing is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Matthew Miraglia and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Thomas M. Fattorusso.

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Barbara Burns


Updated February 27, 2024