COVID Feature: A Lot of Loans

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Male hands counting dollars, black salary, money laundering, illegal business, stock footage

A federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment against Jeremie Saintvil, 46, of Delray Beach, Florida. Saintvil was indicted for fraudulently obtaining or attempting to obtain more than $1,500,000 in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.

Saintvil was charged with bank fraud, making false statements to a federally insured institution, aggravated identity theft, and making false statements to a financial institution. In addition to allegedly submitting a fraudulent PPP loan application in his own name, Saintvil also allegedly stole the identities of eight elderly individuals.

Seven of the stolen identities belonged to elderly individuals, who were residents of senior living facilities, and one belonged to one of Saintvil’s family members. (Imagine defrauding your own flesh and blood.) These identities were used as part of a complex scheme to fraudulently obtain more than $1.5 million in forgivable PPP loans.

Saintvil is alleged to have used the stolen identities to submit nine fraudulent PPP loan applications to nine different federally insured credit unions and banks. These applications were submitted on behalf of businesses that did not exist, using fraudulent information. Saintvil claimed that these businesses were unable to make payroll and that obtained loans would be used to financially sustain his business. (Looks like this fraudster likes to play pretend.)

The nine applications misrepresented the number of employees and payroll expenses of the non-existent companies. (This isn’t hard to exaggerate given the total number of employees and expenses is zero.)  Saintvil created falsified tax documents and bank account information to support these claims.

The indictment further alleges that Saintvil opened bank accounts and lines of credit in the names of his elderly victims. Santvil allegedly transferred funds from the fraudulently obtained lines of credit into the bank accounts that he opened in the names of the elderly victims.

Saintvil then allegedly obtained physical checks, debit cards, and credit cards in the names of his elderly victims so that he could spend the illegally obtained funds. (He took advantage of elderly individuals and struggling Americans, all so he could go on a spending spree.) 

If convicted, Saintvil faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison for the charges of bank fraud and making false statements to a federally insured institution. He also faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison for making a false statement charge. In addition, aggravated identity theft carries a 2-year mandatory minimum prison sentence.

It’s important to remember that an indictment is merely an allegation by a grand jury that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal law and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial.

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form.

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a Department of Justice press release, “Delray Beach Man Indicted For COVID-19 Relief Fraud, Allegedly By Using Identities Of Elderly Victims Residing At Senior Living Facilities,” dated March 23, 2021.

GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA – A federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment this afternoon against Jeremie Saintvil of Delray Beach, Florida, for fraudulently obtaining or attempting to obtain over $1,500,000 in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. Saintvil, 46, is charged with bank fraud, making false statements to a federally insured institution, aggravated identity theft, and making false statements. Jason R. Coody, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, announced the indictment.

In addition to allegedly submitting a fraudulent PPP loan application for a fictious business in his own name, Saintvil also allegedly stole the identities of eight elderly individuals – seven of whom were residents of senior living facilities and one who was related to him – as a part of his complex scheme to obtain more than $1.5 million in forgivable loans. In doing so, Saintvil is alleged to have submitted fraudulent loan applications to multiple financial institutions, including one headquartered in Alachua County, Florida.

 

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.