When Teamwork Does Not Make the Dream Work

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

Adam Arena of Buffalo, N.Y., and Amanda Gloria of Altus, Okla., both 44, were arrested for fraudulently obtaining and laundering COVID-19 relief Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds. Arena and Gloria allegedly conspired together to fraudulently obtain and misuse almost $1 million in PPP loans.

Court documents report that the two individuals submitted a false loan application to a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)-approved lender on behalf of the business Arena previously owned, ADA Auto Group LLC. (There’s just one problem – Arena’s business didn’t exist. Apparently, neither Arena nor Gloria had any common sense either.)

The two allegedly listed false certifications for the business as well as a false explanation of how they planned on using the loan. These false documents included forged tax forms and a list of fake employees. Arena and Gloria successfully received the loan and began to spend the money on personal expenses. (In this case, personal expenses included purchasing two cars.)

Both Arena and Gloria were charged with one count of conspiracy to engage in monetary transactions with criminally derived proceeds, one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and one substantive count of bank fraud. Arena was also charged three substantive counts of engaging in monetary transactions with criminally derived proceeds while Gloria was charged with one count.

If convicted, Arena and Gloria may face up to 30 years in prison for each conspiracy and substantive count of bank fraud. On top of that, they may face up to 10 years in prison for each conspiracy and substantive count of engaging in monetary transactions with criminally derived proceeds. It’s important to remember that these two are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. (However, if they are found guilty, they’ll be spending a lot of time behind bars in the near future.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a Department of Justice press release, “Two Charged as Co-Conspirators for Nearly $1 Million COVID-19 Relief Fraud Scheme and Money Laundering,” dated June 11, 2021.

A New York man and an Oklahoma woman were arrested Wednesday in Buffalo, New York and Altus, Oklahoma, respectively, on a criminal complaint filed in the Western District of New York charging them for their roles in fraudulently obtaining and laundering nearly $1 million in funds from the COVID-19 relief Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

According to court documents, from May 2020 through October 2020, Adam D. Arena, 44, of Buffalo, and Amanda J. Gloria, 44, of Altus, allegedly conspired to fraudulently obtain and misuse a nearly $1 million PPP emergency relief loan through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Arena and Gloria allegedly submitted a false loan application to an SBA‑approved participating lender on behalf of a defunct business owned by Arena called ADA Auto Group LLC. This loan application allegedly contained materially false representations and certifications about Arena’s business and how the loan would be used.  After fraudulently obtaining the loan, Arena and Gloria are alleged to have misused the loan proceeds on personal expenses the purchase of two cars.

 

 

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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.