The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia says that two men from Atlanta have been charged with fraud connected to the pandemic.
Kenneth Wilkerson, age 39, and Jeremy Graves, age 38, are each facing more than a dozen charges for what the Department of Justice calls fraudulently getting loans from the pandemic’s Paycheck Protection Program.
Together, the two men got more than $613,000 in loans for small companies from the PPP and Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
The Justice Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office said that Wilkerson illegally owned multiple guns as part of a “drug trafficking operation” that made hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal profits.
Robert J. Murphy from the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Atlanta Division said Wilkerson tried to hide money laundering with PPP and EIDL funds by sending nine loan applications to the Small Business Administration and other lenders.
Also, U.S. Attorney Ryan Buchanan said Wilkerson filed fake tax forms and bank statements to get the money and then “failed to spend it on authorized” business costs.
The DOJ said that Wilkerson took out loans worth more than $383,000.
On the other hand, the DOJ says that Graves used stolen identities from several victims to apply for and get unemployment insurance benefits.
The tweet below verifies the news:
Between the two of them, more than $613m000 were illegally obtained, according to the US Attorney's Office. https://t.co/MTO8rS2yPT
— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) May 20, 2023
DOJ said Graves used stolen IDs to apply for jobless benefits in several states, including Georgia, California, Maryland, and Nevada. He listed several addresses, including his own.
DOJ says that debit cards with UI benefits on them were sent to Graves at the addresses he gave. He would then call the banks to activate the cards, ask for new cards, and apply for benefits on behalf of his victims.
None of the people he wanted to work for had given him or anyone else permission to do so. Graves is said to have gotten more than $230,000 in benefits he didn’t deserve because of what he did.
As a result, the federal government charged the two guys with the following crimes:
11 counts of theft by wire
1 count of laundering money
2 counts of having a gun when you’ve been guilty of a crime
USAO says Wilkerson put in the fake applications to try to get $800,000 in PPP and EIDL funds for a number of “seemingly defunct businesses.”
11 counts of theft by wire
8 counts of identity theft that were more serious
7 counts of stealing money from the government
“Investigating claims of fraud in unemployment insurance schemes is an important part of the Office of Inspector General’s job.” Mathew Broadhurst, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Southeast Region for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, said, “We will keep working with our law enforcement partners to look into these kinds of claims with vigor.”
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The things the two men did had nothing to do with each other.
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