Making The Most of Parole

Close-up Of A Businessperson's Hand Giving Cheque To Colleague At Workplace

In April 2021, Antrum Coston fraudulently applied for and subsequently received two Paycheck Protection Program loans, totaling $41,666, in relation to a cleaning business he supposedly operated. As part of the loan applications, Coston made multiple false statements, including that his business was established in 2018 and that the business had total gross income for 2019 in $114,658. In reality, no cleaning business associated with Coston had been formed in 2018 and there was no reported income in 2019. How do we know this? Because our fraudster was actually incarcerated during 2019. That’s how we know.

Coston has had a long history of crime but instead of becoming a reformed individual (do fraudsters reform?), he used paroles as an opportunity for more crime. In 2021, he was actually on supervised release from federal prison for gun and drug offenses when he committed the PPP loan fraud. Coston was also busy with his drug dealing business.

In December 2021, Coston was stopped while he was driving in West Haven, CT and a search of the car turned up distribution quantities of heroin fentanyl, cocaine and crack cocaine, and more than $2,000 in cash. He was arrested and released on parole. And again, our fraudster made the most of his parole time. While waiting for his court date for drug distribution, Coston sought forgiveness of both PPP loans to his made-up cleaning business, falsely asserting the funds had been spent on payroll!

Coston pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances. Coston’s story may not be done though. Coston is free from custody pending sentencing which is scheduled for March 15, 2023.

Great job by all involved in this investigation including the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, the Bureau of Alcohol. Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Today’s Fraud of the day is based on an article “Felon Pleads Guilty to PPP Loan Fraud, Money Laundering and Drug Offenses” published by Banner News on December 26, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that ANTRUM COSTON, 40, of New Haven, waived his right to be indicted and pleaded guilty yesterday before U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport to fraud, money laundering and drug offenses.

In March 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided emergency financial assistance to Americans suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief provided by the CARES Act was the authorization of forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and certain other expenses through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.