Former Bookkeeper for Mukilteo flooring company convicted of wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy
Seattle – A 30-year-old New York City man was convicted today in U.S. District Court in Seattle of three counts of wire fraud and two counts of bank fraud related to his abuse of the COVID-19 Pandemic Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. Donte Jamal McClellon was a resident of Seattle when he submitted falsified documents to obtain $500,948 in loan proceeds from three different financial institutions in May and June 2020. The jury deliberated about two hours following the three-day trial. U.S. District Judge Lauren King scheduled sentencing for April 10, 2024.
According to records filed in the case, McClellon used the names of three limited liability corporations he had once registered in the State of Washington to make his claims. Each of the entities, ‘Frostlake,’ ‘Cannonlake,’ and ‘Skylake’ LLC, had been inactive and showed no signs of business activity in any state or federal registries in the years leading up to the pandemic. Nevertheless, in May and June 2020, McClellon submitted Paycheck Protection program applications claiming the entities each had as many as 13 employees and, in one case, gross receipts of more than $1.6 million. McClellon forged multiple Internal Revenue Service forms to make it appear the three companies were operating real estate, wholesale, or retail businesses, with employees who would benefit from the Paycheck Protection Program loans. McClellon claimed the businesses operated out of his home address in Seattle. The investigation revealed there was no business activity at that address.
The loan funds were disbursed to bank accounts that McClellon had set up just days before he made the loan applications. The proceeds were then moved to a personal bank account controlled by McClellon. McClellon used the money to pay his rent on a Manhattan apartment, for travel and gym memberships, and some $20,000 on Uber rides among other personal, non-business expenses.
The case was investigated by The FBI Seattle Field Division with assistance from FBI New York and the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General (SBA-OIG).
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lauren Watts Staniar, Jessica Murphy Manca, and Sok Tea Jiang.
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 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 via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.