Loans

Coral Springs Man Convicted in COVID Loan Scheme • Coral Springs Talk

Coral Springs Man Convicted in COVID Loan Scheme • Coral Springs Talk
Written by Publishing Team

Written by Kevin Deutsch

Federal prosecutors said a Coral Springs man pleaded guilty this week in Ohio to spearheading a nationwide scheme to fraudulently obtain more than $35 million in COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program loans.

According to court documents, Philip J. Augustine, 52, for obtaining millions of dollars in fraudulent PPP loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration. Along with James R. Stott, 55, of Hollywood, Augustine first took out a fraudulent PPP loan for his company, Clear Vision Music Group LLC, using false documents, prosecutors said.

After filing the PPP application, Augustin and Stott immediately began working on larger PPP loans for themselves and their partners, the plaintiffs said.

According to a Ministry of Justice press release, “They have recruited additional PPP loan applicants and prepared and submitted fraudulent loan applications in exchange for a share of the loan proceeds.” “The applications they submitted for all loans in the scheme were based on fake payroll numbers, fraudulent IRS forms, and fake bank statements. They submitted or facilitated at least 79 fraudulent loan applications worth at least $35 million and planned to provide more.”

Stott and Augustin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit telephone fraud. Each faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison upon sentencing.

In a related case, Diamond Smith, 37, of Miramar, who paid bribes to Augustin and Stott to help them with the PPP fraud, was this week sentenced to 20 months in prison after pleading guilty August 4 to conspiracy to commit online fraud. He said.

Smith, a recording artist, admitted to taking out a $426,717 PPP loan to his company, Throwbackjersey.com LLC, using false documents and false information. After this loan, Smith sought and obtained another PPP loan to his other company, Blue Star Records LLC, using false documents and false information and obtained it.

Smith admitted to using proceeds from PPP loans on the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and on luxury goods, including a Ferrari. Authorities said they had seized a Ferrari at the time of Smith’s arrest.

According to prosecutors, Smith admitted that he paid Augustin and Stutt more than $250,000 in bribes to help them prepare and submit fraudulent loan applications.

Prosecutors said Smith was ordered to pay $111,1345.23 in compensation and $1,134,782 in forfeiture in addition to his prison term.

Juan Antonio Gonzalez, the US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, has indicated that more PPP fraud trials are coming from his office.

“Our work is not finished,” Gonzalez said in a prepared statement. “We will continue to hold accountable those who have illegally obtained funds intended to help struggling small businesses survive the current health and economic crisis.”

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud related to COVID-19 can report them by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at https:/ / www. Justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.

Submit to the #1 award-winning Coral Springs news site here.

Author profile

Kevin Deutsch
Kevin Deutsch

Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and writer. After graduating from Florida International University, Kevin has worked with staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.

About the author

Publishing Team

Leave a Comment