MIL-OSI Security: North Las Vegas Man Sentenced to Prison for $1.1 Million COVID-19 Relief Fraud

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Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) State Crime Alerts (c)

LAS VEGAS – A North Las Vegas man was sentenced today by United States District Judge Gloria M. Navarro to 19 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release for submitting at least 56 fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications on behalf of himself and others totaling more than $1.1 million dollars over the course of more than six months.

According to court documents, on March 17, 2021, Jaquari Davonte Woodward (25) submitted a fraudulent loan application in his own name, and when he was successful in obtaining $20,833 in fraudulent funds (the maximum available), he advertised on social media by posting the amount of fraudulent proceeds he had received and offered to do the same for others in exchange for a $10,000 fee payment for each successful application. In each of these fraudulent applications, Woodward provided false financial information, often for fake companies or companies which did not exist during the qualifying time period, and he created fictitious IRS Form 1040 Schedules C. Altogether, from March 2021 to October 2021, Woodward submitted at least 56 fraudulent applications in his own name and the names of others, and he caused over $1.1 million in loss to PPP lenders and the Small Business Administration.

Woodward pleaded guilty to wire fraud. In addition to imprisonment, he was ordered to pay $1,264,252.02 in restitution to PPP lenders and the Small Business Administration.

United States Attorney Jason M. Frierson for the District of Nevada, Western Region Special Agent in Charge Weston King for the Small Business Administration, Office of Inspector General (SBA OIG), and Special Agent in Charge Spencer L. Evans for the FBI made the announcement.

The SBA OIG and FBI investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorney Jessica Oliva prosecuted the case.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the department’s response to the pandemic, please visit www.justice.gov/coronavirus.

Anyone with information about allegations of fraud related to COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.

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