COVID-19 relief funds are financial resources that have been set up to provide assistance to individuals and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds were established by governments, non-profit organizations, or other entities and may be used to provide financial support, medical supplies, or other forms of aid to those in need.
Unfortunately, there have been instances of fraud related to COVID-19 relief funds throughout the U.S. Fraudsters in these cases defrauded COVID relief programs that were intended to provide money to those affected by the pandemic by submitting phony applications.
A fraudster from Palm Beach County, in one of the many such cases, was recently convicted of fraudulently obtaining over $800,000. 33-year-old Sean Pierre Jackson entered a guilty plea to the wire fraud charge several months ago, and a judge handed out a sentence earlier this week that included both three years in federal prison and three years of supervised release.
Jackson sought over $839,000 in the nearly a dozen loan applications for the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans he submitted from March 30, 2020, through May 10, 2021. In order to be eligible for the loans, he made false allegations regarding his prior-year income and expenses in the applications.
The money he obtained was supposed to be used for paying a lease, utilities, mortgage interest, and payroll checks, but Jackson spent them on shopping at retail stores, furniture purchases, stays in luxury hotels, etc.
The judge also ordered Jackson to pay restitution in the amount of $661,986 on top of the prison sentence.