Criminal Charges Filed In Nearly Two Dozen COVID-19 Fraud Cases In Florida
On September 15th, 2022, the U.S. Attorneys’ Office for the Southern District of Florida published a press release confirming that the 23 separate COVID-19 related criminal fraud charges have been filed in the region in recent weeks. Altogether, the fraud schemes are valued at more than $150 million. Prosecutors are cracking down on COVID-19 fraud. In this article, our Orlando white collar defense attorney discusses the recent COVID-19 fraud charges that have been filed by federal and state prosecutors.
An Overview of Recent COVID-19 Fraud Prosecutions Coming Out of Florida
Allegations: $15 Million in Fraudulent PPP Loan Applications
As part of the CARES Act, the federal government created the Paycheck Protection Program to provide forgivable loans to qualifying businesses that kept on employees during the worst days of the pandemic. Regulators are aggressively cracking down on allegations of PPP fraud.
A 50-year-old man named Daniel Hernandez has been charged as part of an alleged $30 million PPP fraud scheme. Notably, this is just one of several PPP loan fraud criminal fraud charges that Florida prosecutors have filed in recent weeks.
Mr. Hernandez is a manager at a bank. Prosecutors contend that he knowingly and intentionally facilitated dozens of fraudulent PPP applications. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, $30 million in fraudulent loans were allegedly sought and at least $15 million were actually dispersed.
Allegations: $100 Million Identify Theft COVID-19 Fraud Scheme
A 41-year-old Florida man named Herbert Emile was arrested in relation to an alleged $100 million COVID-19 fraud scheme. The fraud scheme in question purportedly revolved around identity theft. Stolen Social Security numbers and other sensitive personal identifying information were allegedly used to obtain PPP loans and other COVID-19 related government benefits. The defendant is facing felony charges.
Allegations: Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) Fraud
Nearly a dozen people in South Florida have been indicted as part of an alleged Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) fraud scheme. EIDL loans are issued through the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help qualifying companies manage the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. The defendants are facing a wide range of different criminal fraud charges.
Allegations: Unemployment Insurance Fraud
A 36-year-old individual from Broward County, FL has been indicted and charged with the theft of government funds. According to the law enforcement, the man fraudulently claimed and received unemployment benefits. Unemployment fraud is a serious criminal offense in Florida.
Note: A criminal charge is not a criminal conviction. Everyone deserves their day in court. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Contact Our Orlando, FL Criminal Fraud Defense Lawyer Today
At The Baez Law Firm, our Orlando white collar defense attorney has the professional skills and legal experience to defend complex fraud cases. If you or your family member was charged with a COVID-19 related fraud offense, you need reliable representation. Contact our criminal defense team to arrange a strictly confidential initial consultation. We serve communities throughout Central Florida, including Orlando, Apopka, Winter Garden, Winter Park, and Kissimmee.