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Friday, June 14, 2024

USA. 2 years in prison for issuing Covid loans for alpaca breeding

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A 59-year-old from Grafton in the US state of Vermont was sentenced to two years in prison in connection with falsifying applications for payday loans under the government aid program during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Massachusetts State Attorney’s Office, the convict allegedly used the funds for personal expenses, including the purchase of an alpaca farm.

“Let’s not be fooled. This is no coincidence in the pandemic chaos. (…) he filled out many false applications for pandemic aid that should have gone to small businesses and their employees during a national emergency. He stole it from American taxpayers and small businesses that they really needed these loans to survive, said U.S. District Judge Denise J. Casper.

SEE ALSO: From the Covid fund to dungeons. “Let’s not laugh, this is a really serious matter”

Sentence for fraud regarding government aid during the pandemic

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The case of the owner of a pizzeria from Beverly, a seaside town an hour away from Boston, has been followed by the media for two years. On Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts released full information about the verdict that had just been handed down.

The case involves a government-backed loan program called the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that helped small businesses stay employed during the pandemic. Some of the repayments were waived. As FBI agent Jodi Cohen, quoted by the prosecutor, put it, it was “a limited pool of money intended to help struggling companies.” Meanwhile, the convict – as the investigator says – used the money to buy a farm, raise alpacas and start a new life in Vermont. As we read on the prosecutor’s office website, in April 2020, the convict’s company submitted a false application for a PPP loan in the amount of over PLN 660,000. dollars. According to the application, she allegedly inflated information about the pizzeria’s employees and payroll expenses, as well as “falsified an official tax form in an attempt to qualify the company for a higher loan amount.” According to the accuser, after receiving the loan, the man sold the pizzeria and used almost all of the funds to “purchase a farm in Vermont, eight alpacas and other personal expenses, including two vehicles and airtime for his cryptocurrency radio show.” In April this year, the man pleaded guilty to four counts of cyber fraud and three counts of money laundering.

“Today’s verdict is a reminder – if you misappropriate government pandemic relief funds, you will be held accountable,” said Special Agent Christina Scaringi of the government’s Department of Housing and Urban Development.

SEE ALSO: Coronavirus scams. She was supposed to collect almost PLN 100,000, then she attacked a policeman

Main photo source: Shutterstock



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