Davenport couple charged with $ 5.8 million COVID fraud | USAO-MDFL

Tampa, Florida – Acting U.S. attorney Karin Hoppmann announces the filing of a criminal complaint accusing Julio Lugo (44) and Rosenide Venant (37), both of Davenport, of conspiracy and misrepresentation to a financial institution. Lugo has also been charged with an illegal currency transaction relating to the illegal use of coronavirus relief funds to pay a note on a luxury car purchased during the plot. If convicted, Lugo faces a maximum sentence of 45 years in federal prison; Coming risks up to 35 years imprisonment.

According to the complaint, from or around March 2020, Lugo and Venant conspired to defraud the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) out of millions of dollars in coronavirus relief funds. Lugo and Venant have used their IP addresses to submit at least 70 bogus and fraudulent loan applications seeking funds under the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) and the Disaster Loan Program in Canada. economic damage case (“EIDL”). Fraudulent loan applications demanded more than $ 5.8 million, including for shell companies created by Lugo, Venant and their relatives. The conspirators also secured coronavirus relief funds for a former tax preparation company that Lugo had previously used to perpetrate tax evasion around 2015. Once the emergency loans were secured, the conspirators abused the funds PPP and EIDL by reimbursing a luxury vehicle. , spending over $ 62,000 in casinos and for other personal purposes. In addition, the conspirators withdrew at least $ 320,000 in cash. Lugo went public with the misuse of SBA funds in a Facebook video featuring a hotel room filled with $ 100 bills and at least $ 5,000 of Louis Vuitton merchandise.

The Coronavirus Relief, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES”) is federal law enacted in March 2020. It is designed to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans suffering the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief under the CARES Act is the authorization of up to $ 349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses for job maintenance and certain other expenses under the PPP. In April 2020, Congress authorized more than $ 300 billion in additional P3 funding. In response to COVID-19, small business owners, including farm businesses and nonprofits in all U.S. states, Washington DC, and the territories, have also been allowed to apply for loans and grants in as part of the EIDL COVID-19 program.

A complaint is simply a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This case was reviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Tampa Field Office. She will be prosecuted by Deputy United States Attorneys Kristen A. Fiore and Suzanne Nebesky.

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