Federal government charges Coral Springs resident in COVID fraud program

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Par Hank McCoy

A Coral Springs resident has been charged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the federal government of more than $ 24 million in Small Business Administration P3 loans through the CARES Act.

Phillip J. Augustin, 51, has been charged in Ohio with wire fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank and bank fraud and obstruction of justice for using his talent management company to submit at least 90 fraudulent PPP loan applications through the CARES Act.

Augustine allegedly received a fraudulent PPP loan for his company Clear Vision Music Group LLC, using forged documents.

According to a US Department of Justice, Augustine and one of his co-conspirators, Wyleia Williams, 44, of Fort Lauderdale began working with other co-conspirators to submit numerous fraudulent PPP loan applications for them. “Confederate” loan seekers.

Williams was brought in to facilitate the program, and Augustine focused on recruiting loan seekers as well as other co-conspirators to recruit even more applicants.

Augustine, Williams, and the seven other DOJ-named co-conspirators received bribes on the forgivable loans the plaintiffs received. Of the $ 24 million in claims submitted, $ 17.4 million were reportedly approved and funded by financial institutions.

The program was allegedly a nationwide effort that used the business relationships Augustine established through his management of professional football players to recruit potential loan applicants.

DOJ documents allege that Damian McKenzie, 38, of Miami Gardens, Andre Clark, 46, of Miramar, and Keyaira Bostic, 31, of Pembroke Pines, applied for PPP loans for their own businesses through Augustine.

They recruited PPP loan seekers for Augustin and received a share of the loan proceeds as a result.

The other co-conspirators named in the indictment are James Stote, 54, of Hollywood, Ross Charno, 46, of Fort Lauderdale, Deon Levy, 50, of Bedford, Ohio, and Abdul- Azeem Levy, 22, of Cleveland, Ohio.

US South Florida District Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan explained, “Those who defraud the program regardless of the effect their actions of greed will have on small business owners and employees who have a legitimate need to money will be vigorously pursued by my office. ”

The case was investigated by local IRS offices in Cincinnati and Miami, local FBI offices in Cleveland and Miami, and the Office of the Inspector General of the Small Business Authority.

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