A South Florida man has been arrested for allegedly making false statements to a bank in order to fraudulently receive more than $60,000 in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans intended to help small businesses impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Judlex Jean Louis, 32, of Lauderhill was charged with bank fraud, making false statements to a financial institution, and aggravated identity theft. At the time of his arrest, he was reportedly awaiting trial on money laundering, theft, and fraud charges related to separate cases dating back to 2014. He was ordered held on $250,000 bond. Attorney information was not available at the time of writing.
According to the criminal complaint, Louis allegedly received proceeds from three PPP loans in early June 2020. On one of the loan applications, he allegedly hid that he was the loan recipient in his applications by using a social security number that did not belong to him. He also purportedly falsely certified that he wasn’t subject to any pending criminal charges.
On a second application, he allegedly submitted the name of an accomplice’s purported business and used a doctored bank statement. On his third and final application, he reportedly made up a business and used the name and social security number of someone he did not know.
Louis allegedly had the loan proceeds deposited into accounts he controlled. Surveillance cameras reportedly caught him withdrawing cash from one of these accounts soon after the money was deposited.
PPP loans for small businesses are authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was enacted by Congress in March 2020. The CARES Act was designed to provide emergency financial assistance to American businesses that are struggling with the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Congress authorized over $500 billion in forgivable loans for small businesses to use for payroll costs, rent and utilities, and interest on mortgages.
This isn’t the first incident of alleged fraud in Florida involving COVID-19 relief programs. Earlier this month, federal prosecutors filed charges against Damion O. Mckenzie, Andre M. Clark, and Keyaira Bostic for their alleged participation in a fraud scheme to seek more than $24 million in PPP loans.
The complaint in that case claims the trio applied for assistance for their respective businesses using fake documents, including doctored bank statements and tax forms. After they submitted their applications, they allegedly became recruiters and sought out other businesses for the purpose of submitting more fraudulent loan applications in exchange for kickbacks from approved loans. In total, they are accused of submitting at least 90 applications seeking over $24 million in loans. They received approximately $17.4 million from the applications that were approved and funded, sources indicate.
Fraud is a serious offense with severe penalties. Anyone suspected of committing fraud in South Florida related to federal COVID-19 relief programs should immediately consult an experienced fraud defense attorney. A good attorney can examine the evidence, conduct an independent investigation, and determine the best course of action to minimize the possible penalties.
South Florida Fraud Defense Attorney
Are you accused of committing fraud in South Florida involving federal COVID-19 relief programs? Contact Brian Silber, P.A. to set up a free initial consultation with one of South Florida’s most experienced fraud defense attorneys.