Five Charged With COVID-19 Relief Fraud
GRAND RAPIDS, MI (STL.News) United States Attorney Andrew Birge announced today that five men were indicted by a grand jury on multiple federal charges for fraudulently obtaining and misappropriating Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loan funds.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act is a federal law designed to provide emergency financial assistance to the millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief provided by the CARES Act was the authorization of forgivable loans to small businesses through the PPP program, which was designed to provide small businesses with loans in order to keep employees on the payroll.
The indictment alleges that Jemar Mason and David Kurbanov, in concert with Andre Jackson and James Williams, received approximately $1.495 million through the Small Business Administration and the PPP for two shell companies. It is further alleged that, with the assistance of Dennis Lynn Cartwright, Jr., the defendants attempted to transfer the money to cover up the fact that it was fraudulently obtained. Investigators located and recovered approximately $1.123 million of the loan funds. Mason, Kurbanov, and Cartwright live in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area; Williams and Jackson live in the Atlanta, Georgia area.