South Carolina man found guilty of COVID-19 Relief fraud in first PPP trial in Atlanta | USAO-NDGA

ATLANTA — A federal jury in Atlanta has convicted a South Carolina man of fraudulently obtaining a $300,000 repayable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan backed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) in under the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act.

“At the height of the pandemic, Travis Crosby decided to steal federal relief funds intended to help struggling businesses,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “Crosby has now been convicted of fraud in Atlanta’s first PPP fraud trial and will soon be sentenced for his theft.”

“Crosby’s personal greed affects every tax-paying citizen in this country and has withdrawn public funds intended to provide relief to small businesses and employees in desperate need during the pandemic,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Keri Farley. Atlanta. “This conviction serves as a message that the FBI and our federal partners remain vigilant to ensure that funds provided by programs like PPP are used as intended.”

“The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration will aggressively pursue those who attempt to defraud the Coronavirus Relief and Economic Security Act and its Paycheck Protection Program, which was created to help homeowners of legitimate businesses during the pandemic,” said J. Russell George, Treasury. Inspector General of Tax Administration. “We appreciate the efforts of our law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to ensure this criminal activity is held accountable.”

“Conspiring to defraud the SBA deprives the nation of vital resources meant to support the nation’s small businesses,” said Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite, Special Agent in Charge of the SBA OIG’s Eastern Region. “The OIG remains committed to weeding out bad actors and protecting the integrity of SBA programs on a daily basis. I am continually grateful to the United States Attorney’s Office for their leadership and dedication to bringing light to darkness wherever it may be found.

According to U.S. Attorney Buchanan, the charges and other information presented to the court: Travis Crosby conspired to submit a PPP loan application on behalf of Crosby’s company, Faithful Transport Services LLC (Faithful Transport). The loan request falsely inflated Faithful Transport’s number of employees and average monthly payroll, inducing a larger PPP loan than Crosby could legitimately obtain. Crosby and a co-conspirator also caused a false tax document to be presented to support the misrepresentations in the loan application. Crosby then engaged in a series of fictitious transactions with various people to make it look like he was paying them wages for working at Faithful Transport when in reality these people returned the vast majority of the funds to Crosby. .

Crosby is the 11th defendant to be convicted in the Justice Department’s prosecution of an Atlanta-based $3 million PPP fraud ring. Previously, 10 other members of the scheme had been charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia and the DOJ Fraud Section. All other defendants pleaded guilty before trial. To date, authorities have recovered approximately $1.2 million of the stolen money.

Travis Crosby, 32, of Wellford, South Carolina, was convicted of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, misrepresentation to a bank and money laundering. He is expected to be sentenced on January 10, 2023.

Since the inception of the CARES Act, the Fraud Section has prosecuted over 150 defendants in over 95 criminal cases and seized over $75 million in cash from fraudulently obtained PPP funds, as well as numerous real estate and luxury items purchased with such a product. More information can be found at https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/ppp-fraud.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to mobilize Department of Justice resources in partnership with government agencies to scale up enforcement and prevention efforts. pandemic-related fraud. The task force strengthens efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies administering relief programs to prevent fraud by augmenting and integrating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and by sharing and leveraging information and knowledge gained from previous enforcement efforts. For more information about the department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.

Anyone with information about alleged attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline via the NCDF’s online complaint form at address https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud /formulaire-de-plainte-en cas-de-catastrophe-ncdf.

The FBI Field Office in Atlanta; the SBA-OIG; and TIGTA investigated the matter.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Huber for the Northern District of Georgia, Attorney General Matthew Reilly of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case. U.S. Attorney Diane D. Schulman’s Special Assistant for the Northern District of Georgia and General Counsel Michael P. McCarthy of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section provided significant assistance.

For more information, please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Public Affairs at [email protected] or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.

Comments are closed.