With at least 17% of all COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds disbursed to potentially fraudulent actors, we might start to think that COVID-19 fraud falls under the category of disaster recovery fraud. Why? Because somehow $200 billion in potentially fraudulent COVID-19 EIDLs, EIDL Targeted Advances, Supplemental Targeted Advances, and PPP loans feels like a disaster. Today’s fraudster contributed to the ongoing calamity of disaster frauds by committing both Disaster Recovery fraud and COVID-19 EIDL loan fraud. Lovely.
Roy John Depack honed his fraudster skills as a business identity thief, starting in 2020. Pretending to be representative for a variety of companies, Depack fraudulently obtained tens of thousands of dollars in merchandise from two different companies as a result. His first foray into government fraud was in January 2021, when Depack submitted a fraudulent Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) application to the U.S. Small Business Administration and falsely claimed to be the owner of a cleaning company based in Union, NJ.
In September and October 2021, Depack filed two applications with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) fraudulently seeking disaster relief provided in the wake of Tropical Storm Ida. Ownership of the property is a requirement by FEMA to qualify for disaster recovery loans. Depack had no ownership. Although he did rent one of the properties that he claimed to own on his application. Based on Depack’s misrepresentations, FEMA granted one of Depack’s applications and awarded Depack $24,069 in disaster assistance.
On September 7, 2023, Depack was sentenced today to 42 months in prison for disaster benefits fraud, business impersonation fraud, COVID-19 loan fraud, and Treasury check fraud. Disaster being the common characteristic of all of these. Depack must pay $123,489 in full restitution.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service has been credited with this case.
Today’s Fraud of the Day is based on article “Man gets jail time after scamming gov’t out of COVID, Storm Ida relief money” published by NJ Advance Media on September 7, 2023
A man has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in state prison after admitting to fraudulently obtaining funds through Tropical Storm Ida and pandemic relief programs, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger said. Roy John Depack Jr., 49, of Union, was sentenced to 42 months on Thursday after he entered guilty pleas on charges of disaster fraud, forging or fraudulently endorsing Treasury checks and two counts of wire fraud, officials said.
Depack filed two applications with FEMA in September and October of 2021, seeking disaster relief in the wake of the tropical storm. On the applications, he claimed to own properties in Newark and Union, but in reality he was not a property owner and only rented the home in Union, authorities said.