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Two South Florida Men Accused of Using Fake Identities to Steal $3 Million in COVID-19 Relief Funds

jefferson-santos-9SoCnyQmkzI-unsplash-300x200Federal prosecutors in Miami are accusing two South Florida men of using synthetic and stolen identities to steal more than $3 million from a federal coronavirus (COVID-19) relief program.

Jean Renald Fleuridor, 41, of Weston, and Hasan Brown, 44, of Miami, are each facing conspiracy to commit bank fraud charges. It is unclear if they have acquired legal representation.

According to the criminal complaint, the investigation involves two separate but related fraud schemes. Fleuridor, Brown and their unnamed co-conspirators were allegedly part of a scheme to defraud a bank in San Antonio, TX, in 2017. The defendants allegedly used an estimated 700 synthetic and stolen identities to create bank accounts and shell companies to orchestrate the fraud scheme.

Synthetic identification fraud is a type of fraud in which an alleged criminal uses real information, such as stolen social security numbers, and fictitious information like fake names, dates of birth, etc. to create a new identity, which is then used to open fraudulent credit card accounts and make fraudulent purchases.

The San Antonio bank was unaware of the alleged fraud until around January 2019, when it identified several hundred suspicious bank accounts that were later determined to have been opened using stolen identities. The bank reportedly knew the accounts were part of one scheme because payments were made from accounts registered to the synthetic and stolen identities and then transferred into accounts controlled by Fleuridor and Brown.

From April through July 2020, the defendants and their co-conspirators allegedly used the already-established false identities and associated shell companies to fraudulently apply for federal loans under the Paycheck Protraction Program (PPP).

The PPP represents billions of dollars in forgivable loans meant for qualifying small businesses to keep workers on payroll, as well as pay for rent, utilities, and interest on mortgages over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program was approved by Congress through the enactment of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March 2020. Congress authorized over $600 billion in forgivable loans for small businesses and other organizations.

Fleuridor and Brown purportedly sought and received over $3 million in PPP loans. They allegedly used doctored federal income tax forms in their applications to fraudulently prove they employed several workers. Many of their applications were approved and funded, and they managed to receive payments ranging from $60,000 to $1.4 million and $1.7 million on behalf of various shell companies associated with the synthetic identities, the complaint claims.

Fraud is a serious offense with severe penalties. Any South Florida resident accused of committing fraud in relation to the federal government’s COVID-19 relief programs should immediately consult an experienced attorney. A good attorney can examine the evidence, conduct an independent investigation, and determine the best course of action to minimize the penalties or have the charges dropped.

Miami Fraud Defense Attorney

Are you accused of committing COVID-19 relief fraud in South Florida? Contact Brian Silber, P.A. to set up a free initial consultation with one of South Florida’s most experienced fraud defense attorneys.

Source: 8.31.20 two men allegedly used synthetic identities, prior fraud experience to exploit covid-relief programs.pdf

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