Two accused of complicity in roughly $ 1 million COVID-19 fraud and money laundering | OPA

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A New York City man and an Oklahoma woman were arrested Wednesday in Buffalo, New York and Altus, Oklahoma, respectively, in a criminal case filed in the Western District of New York on charges of fraudulent acquisition and laundering nearly USD 1 million. from the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) for COVID-19 relief.

According to court documents, from May 2020 to October 2020, Adam D. Arena, 44, from Buffalo, and Amanda J. Gloria, 44, from Altus, allegedly colluded to obtain and misuse an emergency loan in almost $ 1 million through the US Small Business Administration (SBA). Arena and Gloria allegedly submitted a fake loan application to an SBA-approved participating lender on behalf of Arena’s defunct ADA Auto Group LLC. The loan application allegedly contained false information and evidence about Arena’s operations and how the loan will be used. After receiving the loan fraudulently, Arena and Gloria allegedly misused the loan they received for personal expenses to buy two cars.

Arena is indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, one count of conspiracy to conduct monetary transactions with proceeds of crime, one substantive count of banking fraud, and three main counts of involvement in monetary transactions with proceeds of crime. Gloria is indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit banking fraud, one count of conspiracy to conduct money-related transactions, one substantive count of banking fraud, and one substantive count of participating in monetary transactions with proceeds of crime.

The arena first appeared on trial Wednesday before US Justice of the Peace Michael J. Remer of the US District Court for the Western District of New York. Today, Gloria appears for the first time before US Justice of the Peace Sean T. Erwin of the US District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma. If convicted, Arena and Gloria face a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for each conspiracy and a significant number of bank fraud cases, and a maximum of 10 years in prison for each conspiracy and significant count of participation in money transactions with proceeds of crime. A federal district court judge will make a decision on any conviction after considering the US Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; US Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. for the Western District of New York; Special Agent in charge Stephen Bolonge of the FBI Field Office in Buffalo; and Acting Special Agent Thomas Fatorusso of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) made the announcement.

The FBI and IRS-CI are investigating the case.

Attorney Cory E. Jacobs of the Criminal Division’s Anti-Fraud Division and Assistant US Attorney Laura A. Higgins of the US Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York are leading the case.

The Coronavirus Relief, Assistance and Economic Security Act (CARES) is a federal law passed on March 29, 2020 designed to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans suffering from the economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief under the CARES Act was the permission to pay forgiveness of loans to small businesses of up to $ 349 billion to save jobs and certain other expenses through PPPs. In April 2020, Congress authorized more than $ 300 billion in additional PPP funding.

PPP allows qualified small businesses and other organizations to obtain loans with a maturity of two years and an interest rate of 1%. Proceeds from PPP loans are to be used by businesses for wages, mortgage interest, rents, and utilities. PPP allows you to write off interest and principal on a PPP loan if the business spends the loan on these expense items for a specified period of time after revenue is generated and uses at least a specified percentage of the proceeds on the PPP loan to payroll expenses. …

The Anti-Fraud Section leads the Department of Justice’s prosecution of fraud schemes using the CARES Act. In the months since the adoption of the CARES Act, attorneys for the Anti-Fraud Section have prosecuted more than 100 defendants in more than 70 criminal cases. The Anti-Fraud Section also seized more than $ 65 million in fraudulent PPP proceeds, as well as numerous real estate and luxury items acquired with such proceeds. More information can be found at: https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/cares-act-fraud

Anyone with general information about allegations of attempted COVID-19 fraud can report this by calling the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Disaster Fraud Center at 866-720-5721 or via the web. NCDF complaint form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form

A criminal complaint is simply an indictment and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court beyond reasonable doubt.

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