Four Charged With Wire Fraud Over COVID-19 Relief - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE

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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Four Charged With Wire Fraud Over COVID-19 Relief




The Daily Crucible | Published Tuesday,  September 28, 2021

A criminal information was unsealed, charging four Michigan residents in connection with a wire fraud scheme involving over $4.1 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Court documents revealed that Antonio George, 45, of Novi, attempted to obtain approximately $4.1 million in PPP and EIDL loans through applications submitted on behalf of 16 different companies.

It was alleged further that along with George, Kevin Womble, 37, of Detroit, Andrae Sims, 43, of Farmington Hills, and Sarah Vidal, 31, of Novi, provided false and misleading documents about certain aspects of the companies’ respective business operations and payroll expenses. 

The documents alleged that George obtained payroll information that was used to support a seemingly legitimate PPP loan application submitted on behalf of an unrelated entity and then used the unrelated entity’s payroll information to support fraudulent PPP and EIDL loan applications. 

The quartet of George, Womble, Sims and Vidal were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. George, a tax preparer, is also charged with three counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false and fraudulent returns for conduct related to his tax preparation business.

According to Justice Department in its release on Tuesday, if convicted of all counts, George faces a maximum total penalty of 29 years in prison. Womble, Sims and Vidal each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

George, Womble and Sims are scheduled to make their initial appearances today in the Eastern District of Michigan. Vidal is set to make her initial appearance tomorrow

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