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Florida man gets 3 years, 6 months for COVID-19 relief fraud

Florida man gets 3 years, 6 months for COVID-19 relief fraud
Written by Publishing Team

Tampa, Florida (AFP) – A Florida man has been sentenced to three years and six months in prison for fraud in raising more than $800,000 in coronavirus relief funds.

Louis Thornton III, 63, of Saint Petersburg, was sentenced Friday in federal court in Tampa, according to court records. He pleaded guilty in September to fraud. He must also repay the money he received.

According to court documents, Thornton filed fraudulent applications in 2020 for a Disaster Economic Loan and Paycheck Protection Program through the Small Business Administration on behalf of several defunct businesses.

The documents said Thornton’s applications fraudulently claimed the companies were operating and had suffered economic damage from the pandemic. The documents said Thornton received a total of $814,632.50 and used the money to invest in stocks, futures and commodities.

The Paycheck Protection Program represents billions of dollars in small business loans that can be waived for Americans struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s part of the coronavirus relief package that became federal law in 2020.


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