Sheriff Gregory Tony, of the Broward Sheriff’s Office, said it all began because of an unrelated internal affairs investigation in 2021 of a BSO employee. That small workplace inquiry resulted in credible information that the BSO employee had allegedly misused Paycheck Protection Program loans. As they reviewed who among the BSO’s 5,600 employees had obtained PPP loans, investigators realized the alleged fraud might have been be more widespread. They then began to investigate all BSO employees who applied for the loans, narrowing it down to 100 people. On October 11, 2023, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Markenzy Lapointe announced charges against seventeen BSO deputies in connection with fraudulent COVID loans. Eight of them work in law enforcement, including a sergeant. Nine of them work in the department of detention, including another sergeant.
Lapointe was quick to say that the deputies had their uniforms, guns and badges taken away. A few detention deputies had reached out to the union “to find out their options” last week after they were suspended. Jail? Collectively, the 17 individuals allegedly took $495,171 from the loan programs. A half of a million doesn’t seem too egregious of a crime, considering it is estimated that the Small Business Association disbursed over $200 billion in potentially fraudulent COVID-19 EIDLs, EIDL Targeted Advances, Supplemental Targeted Advances, and PPP loans. What is egregious is alleged crime by police officers who swore an oath to uphold the law.
What is the police code of ethics in Florida? “I will maintain courageous calm in the face of danger, scorn, or ridicule; develop self-restraint; and be constantly mindful of the welfare of others. Honest in thought and deed both in my personal and official life, I will be exemplary in obeying the law and the regulations of my department.” -International Association of Chiefs of Police
Nothing about stealing from the U.S. taxpayer!
Today’s Fraud of The Day is based on article “17 Broward deputies charged in pandemic loan fraud” published by Sun Sentinel on October 12, 2023
Seventeen deputies at the Broward Sheriff’s Office are accused of falsifying paperwork to collect money under government programs meant to help keep small businesses alive during the COVID pandemic. Officials allege the fraud came from assistance offered by the Paycheck Protection Program, known as PPP, and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, or EIDL, programs.
Charges were brought in 17 separate cases filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Many of the Sheriff’s Office deputies made their first appearance in federal court in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick M. Hunt.