Miami, Fla. (Greeley Tribune News et 10) — A Florida man accused of fraudulently obtaining COVID-19 relief loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) made his first appearance in federal magistrates court on Dec. 29 in Ft. Lauderdale.
According to the charges in the indictment, Valeskey Barrosi, 27, ft. Lauderdale submitted fraudulent loan applications on behalf of himself and his peers, seeking more than $4.2 million in PPP loans. The indictment says that in each loan application, Barrosi falsified the applicant’s prior-year expenses, net profit and payroll and submitted fraudulent IRS tax forms.
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According to the allegations, Barrosi and his associates received about $2.1 million in PPP loans from the fraudulent scheme. It is alleged that Barrosi used the fraudulent proceeds to purchase a Lamborghini Huracan EVO, Rolex and Hublot watches and designer clothing from Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Chanel.
The indictment accuses Barrosi of five counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering and one count of serious identity theft. If convicted, Barrosi faces up to 132 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentencing after considering US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.
U.S. Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez for the Southern District of Florida and Brian Swain, Special Agent in charge of the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) of the Miami Field Office, made the announcement.
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The USSS Miami investigated the matter. Assistant US Attorney Jonathan Ballin is prosecuting the case. Assistant United States Attorney Nicole Grosnoff is handling the asset seizure.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act is a federal law enacted on March 29, 2020, designed to provide emergency financial assistance to the millions of Americans who are affected by the economic impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. are victims. One source of relief provided by the CARES Act was the authorization of up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and certain other expenses through PPPs. In April 2020, Congress authorized more than $300 billion in additional PPP funding.
PPP allows eligible small businesses and other organizations to obtain loans with a maturity of two years and an interest rate of 1%. PPP loan proceeds must be used by businesses on payroll costs, interest on the mortgage, rent and utilities. PPP allows interest and principal to be forgiven on PPP loans if the business spends on these expense items within a specified period of time after receiving the loan proceeds and use at least a certain percentage of the PPP loan proceeds on payroll expenses. does.
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On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal Justice Department resources in partnership with agencies across the government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud . The Task Force promotes efforts to investigate and prosecute the most convicted domestic and international criminal actors and to enhance and incorporate existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors, among other methods. Assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud and other means. Sharing and using information and insights gained from their plans, and prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus,