Five Floridians joined four others previously charged as defendants to several charges involving allegations that they all attempted to defraud the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of over $24 million.
Per federal prosecutors, the defendants filed 99 fraudulent applications for forgivable loans under the program in several areas of the country. They say the scheme was kicked off when one defendant obtained a fraudulent PPP forgivable loan for his company with falsified documents.
Upon applying for and receiving the fraudulent loan, investigators say he teamed up with another defendant to recruit a network of others who would apply for fraudulent loans in exchange for kickbacks. The defendant allegedly used his connections in the professional gridiron football community to build the network. He allegedly managed the progress on filling out the fraudulent loans and the kickback payments he expected to receive in the course of the scheme.
Ultimately the network submitted fraudulent loan applications for loans totaling over $24 million, allege prosecutors. At least $17.4 million of the fraudulent funds were actually disbursed before the scheme was uncovered.
The 51-year-old alleged ringleader is facing charges of wire fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and obstruction. Five other Floridians, ranging in age between 31 and 54 years, and two Ohioans also face similar charges.