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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.