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Fake Farmer Couple Pleads Guilty to $1.1Mln COVID-19-Relief Fraud Plot - US Justice Dept.

© FLickr / Nicolas V.Florida police
Florida police - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.03.2021
WASHINGTON, (Sputnik) - Two individuals in the US state of Florida have pleaded guilty to filing fraudulent loan applications for more than $1.1 million in aid from a relief program for businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Justice said in a press release on Monday.

"A Florida couple pleaded guilty for their participation in a scheme to file four fraudulent loan applications seeking more than $1.1 million in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA)," the release said.

The Justice Department explained that, on August 26, 2020, Latoya Stanley and Johnny Philus, both of Miami, were originally charged via a complaint filed in the Southern District of Florida.

"Stanley and Philus worked together to effectuate the fraud and ultimately received over $1 million in fraudulent funds from the fraudulent PPP and EIDL applications before their schemes were uncovered," the release said.

In her application, Stanley claimed to generate more than $800,000 in income and to employ five individuals from a farm based in the yard of her Miami home. In his application, Philus claimed to generate $400,000 in income and to employ ten individuals from a farm. It was late proven that they employed no one and the farms did not exist, the release noted.

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