Lehigh Acres couple plead guilty to COVID relief fraud | USAO-MDFL

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Fort Myers, Fla. – U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Amber Rewis Bruey (35, Lehigh Acres) pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy money laundering and illegal monetary transactions. Her husband and co-conspirator, Anthony James Bruey, previously pleaded guilty to the same charges on February 4, 2022. A sentencing date has yet to be set.

Respondent

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Maximum penalty per count

Amber Rewis Bruey

Conspiracy to commit wire fraud

30 years in federal prison

Wire fraud (10 counts)

30 years in federal prison

Conspiracy to commit money laundering

10 years in federal prison

Illegal monetary transactions (4 counts)

10 years in federal prison

Anthony James Bruey

Conspiracy to commit wire fraud

30 years in federal prison

Wire fraud (2 counts)

30 years in federal prison

Conspiracy to commit money laundering

10 years in federal prison

Illegal monetary transactions (2 counts)

10 years in federal prison

According to court documents, between April 2020 and June 2020, the Brueys conspired to submit a total of 26 fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Disaster Loan (EIDL) applications to approved lenders. by the Small Business Administration (SBA), loan processing companies. , and the SBA. The applications contained numerous false and fraudulent representations, including dates of operation, payroll, gross earnings, total number of employees, and criminal history of the applicants or business owners.

The Brueys’ false and fraudulent representations caused PPP lenders and the SBA to approve 12 of the loans and disburse a total of $881,058.35 in PPP and EIDL funds. The Brueys then illegally used the funds to purchase a $211,457 residence in North Carolina, a 2019 GMC Yukon SUV, a 2020 Honda Talon, and to make restitution for $23,566 as a condition of probation in a criminal case for Amber Bruy.

The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) is a federal law enacted in March 2020. It is designed to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans who are suffering from the economic effects resulting from the COVID pandemic. -19. One of the sources of relief provided by the CARES Act is the authorization of up to $349 billion in small business forgivable loans for job retention and certain other expenses through the PPP. In April 2020, Congress authorized over $300 billion in additional PPP funding.

The PPP allows small businesses and other eligible organizations to receive loans with a term of two years and an interest rate of 1%. Businesses must use PPP loan proceeds for payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent and utilities. The PPP allows interest and principal to be waived if the company spends the proceeds of these expenses within a specified time and uses at least a certain percentage of the loan for payroll expenses.

The EIDL program is designed to provide economic support to small businesses currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Proceeds from EIDL can be used to cover a wide range of working capital and normal operating expenses, such as continued health care benefits, rent, utilities and fixed debt payments. If an applicant also obtains a loan under the PPP, EIDL funds cannot be used for the same purposes as PPP funds.

This case was investigated by the US Secret Service. He is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Trent Reichling and Suzanne Nebesky.


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