Seminole County Man, Don V. Cisternino Charged With COVID Relief Fraud
Orlando, FL (STL.News) United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces the return of an indictment charging Don V. Cisternino (45, Chuluota) with two counts of wire fraud, three counts of aggravated identity theft, and three counts of illegal monetary transactions. If convicted, Cisternino faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for each wire fraud count, up to 10 years’ imprisonment for each illegal monetary transaction count, and a mandatory consecutive term of two years for the aggravated identity theft counts.
According to the indictment, in or about May 2020, Cisternino fraudulently secured more than $7.2 million in emergency funds through a Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loan.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act is a federal law enacted March 2020. It is designed to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief provided by the CARES Act is the authorization of up to $349 billion in potentially forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and certain other expenses through the PPP. In April 2020, Congress authorized over $300 billion in additional PPP funding.