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Salem Man Pleads Guilty to Small Business Loan Fraud and Filing Fraudulent Tax Returns | USAO-MA

Salem Man Pleads Guilty to Small Business Loan Fraud and Filing Fraudulent Tax Returns | USAO-MA
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BOSTON – A Salem man pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston in connection with two fraud schemes relating to COVID-19 relief funds and other individuals’ tax returns.

Roosevelt Fernandez, 42, pleaded guilty to two counts of electronic fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. US District Judge Richard Stearns has set sentencing for May 11, 2022. Fernandez was indicted in December 2020.

Fernandez has applied for 10 EIDL loans from the US Small Business Administration (SBA), either in his name or in the names of the entities he controls. The EIDL funds were made available to eligible individuals and businesses pursuant to the Coronavirus, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). In June 2020, Fernandez applied for an EIDL under the name Soluciones Multi Service, an entity he controls, and filed a false tax file to support the application. As a result, the Small Business Administration deposited $124,900 into a bank account controlled by Fernandez and withdrew more than $80,000 in cash over the next two weeks. In August 2020, Fernandez applied for an EIDL in the name of another company using fraudulent tax filing information. As a result, the Small Business Administration deposited $149,900 into the same bank account.

Additionally, Fernandez has used the identities of various individuals to file fraudulent and federal tax returns. A number of these returns included fraudulent W-2 forms allegedly issued by employers for whom the specified taxpayer did not actually work. Various fraudulent refunds have been deposited into an account named Soluciones Multi Service. In addition, the fraudulent May 2020 Economic Income Payments – the incentive authorized under the CARES Act – were deposited into the same account. Fernandez has been filmed on ATM surveillance footage depositing another fraudulent tax refund check into this account. In all, the investigation uncovered nearly 40 fraudulent tax returns linked to Fernandez, with total refunds requested of more than $620,000.

The electronic fraud charges carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The aggravated identity theft charge provides a mandatory sentence of two years in prison, up to one year of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing is imposed by a federal district court judge based on US sentencing guidelines and other legal factors.

This was announced today by Acting U.S. Representative Nathaniel R. Mendel and Joleen D. Simpson, the special agent in charge of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations Division in the Boston field office. The United States Postal Inspection Service and the Massachusetts Department of Revenue provided valuable assistance in the investigation. Assistant US Attorney Bill Abley, the head of Mendel’s criminal division, is following up on the case.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established a COVID-19 Anti-Fraud Enforcement Task Force to mobilize the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to strengthen efforts to combat and prevent fraud associated with the pandemic. The task force enhances efforts to investigate and prosecute domestic and international criminal actors, and assists agencies tasked with managing relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other ways, increasing and integrating existing coordination mechanisms, and identifying resources and techniques for detecting fraud and fraud. their schemes, sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from previous enforcement efforts. For more information on the administration’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.

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 complaint form.

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