Florida Tax Preparer Charged in $ 7 Million Loan Fraud Scheme | Takeover bid
Yesterday, a Florida tax preparer was indicted in an indictment filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for conspiring to fraudulently obtain more than $ 7 million in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP ), Economic Disaster Loans (EIDL) and Pre-Pandemic Small Business Administration (SBA) and launder the proceeds of the illegal scheme.
The indictment alleges that, from or around January 2018, Barrie J. Osborne, 76, of Celebration, conspired with at least eight California-based individuals to apply for SBA, PPP and EIDL loans at name of their respective companies that were dormant. companies or companies with limited commercial activities. In return for a fee, Osborne made the companies appear to be functioning businesses with operations and employees by creating fake documents, including fake bank statements and fictitious tax documents. Osborne also provided a “script” for program participants to use in calls with lenders. Osborne and the California co-conspirators have reportedly secured more than $ 7.3 million in PPP, EIDL, and SBA loans.
The indictment further alleges that Osborne created “forgiveness plans” which ordered the co-conspirators to transfer the proceeds of the fraud as alleged salary expenses for each of the companies that obtained PPP funds, including one of its own companies. These so-called “forgiveness plans” were designed to disguise the proceeds as salary expenses and make the loan recipient appear to meet the SBA’s requirement that a percentage of the P3 funds be used for payroll, increasing thus the likelihood that the loan recipient would qualify for a loan forgiveness. Osborne is charged with Conspiracy to Commit Electronic and Bank Fraud, Wire Fraud, Bank Fraud and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering.
Deputy Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice; American lawyer Jennifer Arbittier Williams for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; Special Agent in Charge Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite of the Office of the Inspector General of the Small Business Association (SBA-OIG) of the Eastern Region; Special Agent in Charge Yury Kruty of the Philadelphia Field Office of the IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI); Special Agent in Charge Brian Michael of the local Philadelphia Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) office; and Acting Deputy Director Jay Greenberg of the FBI’s Criminal Investigations Division made the announcement
This case was investigated by the SBA-OIG, IRS-CI, the local Philadelphia office of HSI, and the local Philadelphia office of the FBI.
Trial Lawyers David A. Stier and Patrick B. Gushue of the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section of the Criminal Division and Assistant to the United States Attorney Judy G. Smith of the United States District Attorney’s Office Eastern Pennsylvania are pursuing the case.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General created the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Working Group to mobilize the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with government agencies to strengthen efforts to combat and prevent the pandemic fraud. The Working Group strengthens efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable national and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud, among other methods, by scaling up and integrating mechanisms coordination, identifying resources and techniques for uncovering fraudulent actors and their programs, and sharing and leveraging information and knowledge gained from previous 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 only an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.