Feds charge 19 people with fraud with CARES Act funds

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Feds charge 19 people with fraud with CARES Act funds

A federal grand jury indicted 19 people for allegedly participating in a scheme to fraudulently obtain funds under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

According to W. Stephen Muldrow, federal prosecutor for the District of Puerto Rico, the defendants are accused of agreeing to embezzle at least 30 loan payments from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) between April 2020 and February 2024. These resulted in the disbursement of at least $587,442 in federal funds.

The aforementioned program, which 19 defendants allegedly defrauded, was intended to help small businesses with their payroll payments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The defendants were identified as: Jose Carmona Morales, Ceci Cassiano Santiago, Arnaldo Davila Rivera Cruz, Sheila Pérez Guzman, Emmanuelle Masonet Cruz, Janelle Irene Fay Cooney Delgado, Jesus Rodriguez Masonet, Julia Cecilia Santiago Salgado, Nelson Noriega Sotomayor, Hector Martínez Ortiz, Caroline Gonzalez Marrero, Adyel Leon Rivera, Angel Febus Muñoz, Veronica Vazquez Molina, Charisma Ayala Otero, Liliam Collazo Pérez, Rebecca Serrano Martínez, Rosa Casanova Salgado and Tatiana Lebrón.

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Charges of electronic fraud and money laundering were filed against him.

“Today I make the same recommendation I have made before: If you are involved in criminal activity, contact the police and cooperate. You’ll be better off if you wait for the Feds to knock on your door,” warned Muldrow, who assured that the investigation into the CARES fund fraud will remain open.

If convicted, the defendants face up to 30 years in prison on wire fraud charges.

The United States Secret Service, Office of Inspector General, and Internal Revenue Criminal Investigative Service worked together on this case.

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