WILMINGTON, Delaware – U.S. Attorney David K. Weiss announced today that a federal grand jury returned today an indictment in which a Newark woman was charged with electronic fraud, credit fraud, and money laundering in connection with seventeen fraudulent claims against loan under programs approved by Coronavirus Aid. , The Emergency Relief and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”).
According to the indictment, 40-year-old Ana Soto fraudulently applied for loans intended to support small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Between March 2020 and January 2021, using the names of five separate companies, Soto filed applications with the US Small Business Administration (“SBA”) and its authorized lenders, inflating, among other metrics, the revenue and number of employees of the companies in an attempt to get large payments under the Payroll Protection Program (“PPP”) or Disaster Injury Loans (“EIDL”). In some cases, Soto falsely claimed that businesses that had either closed or had not yet reopened when the pandemic began were eligible for funds. Although many of these claims were rejected, Soto received approximately $ 246,000 as a result of her illegal behavior. Soto then used the money for personal expenses not authorized by PPP or EIDL, including buying a car for personal use.
US Attorney Weiss commented on the allegations: “In the midst of the global crisis, this defendant took advantage of government programs designed to support small businesses and their employees. The opportunism of the defendant at the expense of the US government and its citizens deserves sanctions, and today’s indictment represents the first step towards holding her accountable for her actions. ”
Soto has been charged with electronic communications fraud, SBA fraud and money laundering. If convicted, she faces up to 20 years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are usually less than the maximum sentences.
The IRS and the resident agency of the FBI’s Baltimore branch in Wilmington have investigated the matter. Assistant U.S. Attorney Leslie F. Wolff is leading the case.
A copy of this press release can be found at U.S. Attorney’s Office for Delaware County. The relevant court documents and information are posted on the website District Court for Delaware County or PACER…
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Task Force to mobilize the resources of the Department of Justice, in partnership with government departments, to intensify efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force supports efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors, and helps agencies tasked with managing assistance programs to prevent fraud, inter alia, by expanding and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and methods to identify fraudsters and fraudsters. schemes, and the exchange and use of information and ideas from previous compliance efforts. For more information on the Department’s response to the pandemic, visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus…
Anyone with information on allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the National Center for Disaster Management of Frauds (NCDF) of the U.S. Department of Justice at 866-720-5721 or by filling out the web -NCDF complaint form at https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form…
The indictment contains allegations that the defendant committed a crime. Each accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.