Switch to ADA Accessible Website
Orlando Criminal Lawyer

Former Florida State Lawmaker Pleads Guilty In A COVID-19 Fraud Case


According to a report from CNN, Joseph Harding—a former Florida state representative—pleaded guilty to a COVID-19 fraud charge. Mr. Harding obtained more than $150,000 in improper COVID-19 relief loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA). He will be sentenced later this year. Here, our Orlando white collar defense attorney discusses the charges filed in this case and explains the steps that you should take if you are being accused of a COVID-19 related fraud offense.

Guilty Plea: Wire Fraud, Money Laundering, and False Statements 

The Department of Justice (DOJ) reports that former Florida state lawmaker Joseph Harding developed and carried out a fraudulent and deceptive plan to exploit the Small Business Administration (SBA) and its COVID-19 relief process. Mr. Harding was convicted of submitting a  fraudulent application for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL. He obtained more than $150,000 in improper COVID-19 relief funds. As part of his plea, he was sentenced to wire fraud, money laundering, and false statements. These are serious felony criminal charges. The maximum prison term is 20 years for wire fraud, 10 years for money laundering, and 5 years for false statements. As noted previously, Mr. Harding is currently scheduled to be sentenced later this year. 

What to Do If You are Facing a COVID-19 Fraud Allegation 

Federal and state regulators continue to crack down on COVID-19 fraud. If you are facing a white collar fraud allegation, it can be a challenging and stressful time. However, it is crucial to take the right steps to protect your legal rights and ensure a fair outcome. Here are three steps to take if you were accused of COVID-19 fraud:

  1. Gather and Prepare All Documents and Records: Collect all documents and records related to the allegations. This includes financial statements, contracts, invoices, and any other relevant paperwork. It is essential to organize all the documents and have them readily available for your legal team.
  2. Do Not Speak to Investigators or Police Without a Lawyer: If investigators or police contact you, do not speak to them without a lawyer present. Anything you say can be used against you, so it is vital to have legal representation before making any statements.
  3. Get Professional Representation Right Away: Hire an experienced white collar defense attorney who has the skills and expertise to take on fraud cases. Your lawyer will help you understand the charges against you, advise you on your legal rights, and represent you in court. They will guide you through the legal process and help you build a strong defense. 

Call Our Florida White Collar Fraud Defense Lawyer Today

At The Baez Law Firm, our Florida white collar defense attorney is a sophisticated, experienced, and solutions-oriented advocate for clients. If you or your loved one was accused of COVID-19 fraud or any other type of financial offense, we can help. Give us a phone call now or connect with us online to set up your fully confidential initial appointment. With law office locations in Miami and Orlando, we provide top quality white collar criminal defense representation throughout Florida.



  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn

Miami Office

1200 Brickell Avenue, Suite 1410
Miami, FL 33131
Office: 305-999-5100
Fax: 305-999-5111

Orlando Office

250 N Orange Ave, Suite 750
Orlando, FL 32801
Office: 407-705-2626
Fax: 407-705-2625

Email Us

Fields Marked * Are required

DISCLAIMER: Completing and submitting this form or otherwise merely contacting The Baez Law Firm or any individual at the firm will not establish an attorney/client relationship. Our firm cannot represent you until we determine that there would be no conflict of interest and that we are otherwise able to accept representation of your case. Please do not send any information or documents until a formal attorney/client relationship has been established through an interview with an attorney and you have been given authorization in the form of an engagement letter with The Baez Law Firm. Any information or documents sent via this form or otherwise prior to your receipt of an engagement letter will not be treated as confidences, secrets, or protected information of any nature. Submitting information regarding your potential case will not bar The Baez Law Firm from representing or continuing to represent a person or entity whose interest are adverse to your in condition with your case.

protected by reCAPTCHA Privacy - Terms
Please review the highlighted fields. They are required.
DISCLAIMER: This website contains information about The Baez Law Firm that includes testimonial statements from persons who are familiar with the firm's services. The testimonials shown are not necessarily representative of every person's experience with us. Testimonials from every client are not provided. As no two situations or persons are identical, the facts and circumstances of your situation may differ from those for which testimonials are shown. This website also includes information about some of the past results that we have obtained for our clients. Not all results are provided, and the results shown are not necessarily representative of all results obtained by us. No two situation are exactly alike; every person's situation is unique and the outcome for each person depends on the individual facts.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
MileMark Media - Practice Growth Solutions

© 2015 - 2024 Baez Law Firm. All rights reserved.
This law firm website and legal marketing are managed by MileMark Media.

Contact Form Tab Contact Form Tab