Philadelphia Man Charged With Fraud After Using PPP Loan To Buy Real Estate, Motorcycle, Diamond Jewelry
There’s no doubt that the PPP program was one of the worst allocations of taxpayer capital (read: inflation) by the U.S. government in history. While many were helped during Covid by the program, the “free money” of PPP loans attracted all types of fraud and abuse, only a small sliver of which will be investigated.
But occasionally, the government does turn over a rock and get their man, which was the bad news for 50 year old Devron Brown of Philadelphia, who had decided to play the odds on the fraudulent PPP loan roulette wheel – and lost. Brown was charged with stealing nearly $1 million in PPP funds during the pandemic and, instead of using the funds for business needs, turning around and using them to buy a house in Florida, cars and jewelry, according to The Philly Voice.
Brown fraudulently obtained roughly $937,500 in PPP funds and was charged with two counts of bank fraud and nine counts of money laundering. the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania said this week.
The complaint against Brown alleges “a PPP loan application that contained false representations regarding his alleged construction business, Just Us Construction Inc.” It alleges he misrepresented “the number of employees, the wages paid to them, the payroll taxes paid on those wages, and the intended use of the PPP loan proceeds.”
He used the loan for a new residential property in Florida, a motorcycle, an all-terrain vehicle, a luxury automobile, and diamond jewelry, the complaint says.
Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams said: “Paycheck Protection Program funds are intended to help American small-businesses continue paying their employees, even if revenues have dropped dramatically due to the pandemic. Thieves who attempt to take these funds are taking advantage of others’ misfortune – ripping them off while also ripping off all taxpayers who fund the program. As alleged, Brown fraudulently obtained nearly $1 million in funds that could have helped struggling businesses and individuals.”
Michael J. Driscoll, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division concluded: “The Paycheck Protection Program was created to provide emergency financial assistance to businesses and employees battered by the pandemic. Unfortunately, criminal opportunists with dollar signs in their eyes promptly got to work trying to defraud the federal government by seeking a cut of the funds. The FBI will continue to aggressively pursue those using the money from the PPP to bankroll their own lavish lifestyles at taxpayers’ expense.”
Fri, 06/18/2021 – 22:40