A fraud trial pending in Augusta, Georgia under the CARES Act

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A man accused of embezzling $ 30,000 from the government with a CARES small business loan is facing trial this week in the US District Court in Augusta.

Orell Plummer pleaded not guilty to charges of electronic fraud and money laundering. Defense attorney Cutrell Nash told jurors on Monday in her opening statement that Plummer misunderstood the rules and had no intention of defrauding the government.

“The mistake does not mean that he intended to deceive the government,” Nash said.

Plummer is one of half a dozen people accused of fraudulent money that the federal government has allocated to help some businesses during the pandemic. Emergency funds have been allocated to small businesses under the Coronavirus Assistance and Economic Security Act to help them survive the long period of economic stagnation.

Loans to cover economic injuries and disasters provided cash from March 2020 until funding dries up on July 10, 2020. The loan program was intended only for existing businesses to cover the costs and debts associated with the business. Plummer was one of the millions of applicants.

On July 6, 2020, Plummer completed an application to participate in O International Enterprise, a company he says was founded in 2006 and generated $ 180,000 in gross revenue the year before COVID hit. He also demanded 10 employees.

Plummer was sent $ 30,000, Federal Attorney Jennifer Stanley told the jury in her opening remarks. He immediately transferred $ 19,000 of this money to another bank account. According to Stanley, Plummer was not eligible for any funds because the business had not been operating for over a year, it had no employees and no gross income.

Plummer is the first CARES Act case to be tried in Augusta. Two others pleaded guilty to the charges: Rose Mary Coleman, who was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to pay $ 10,000 in compensation, and Jacinthia Williams, who was sentenced to 13 months in prison with three years of supervised release. Williams was ordered to pay $ 61,600 in compensation.

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