Augustan admits fraud scheme that netted $4M in COVID aid
STATESBORO, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A Richmond County man has admitted conducting a scheme to submit fraudulent applications for COVID-19 small business relief funding that netted more than $4 million in payments.
Kamario Thomas, 42, of Augusta, admits he completed false and fraudulent Economic Injury Disaster Loan applications for himself. He also admitted receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks in return for completing and submitting fraudulent Paycheck Protection Plan and Economic Injury Disaster Loan applications on behalf of his co-conspirators.
To create those applications, Thomas fabricated IRS forms and tax records.
In total, the scheme caused the disbursement of more than $4 million in fraudulent loans and grants from aid programs created by the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
“In far too many cases, greedy opportunists took advantage of the PPP, diverting much-needed funds away from those businesses that desperately needed it,” said James E. Dorsey, special agent in charge of IRS criminal investigations in Atlanta.
U.S. Attorney David Estes said the plea “represents the continuing, vigorous pursuit of those who undeservedly accessed government funding for struggling small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
He said federal prosecutors and their law enforcement partners “will hold responsible those who attempt to illegally profit from these programs.”
The case was investigated by the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General, IRS Criminal Investigation, the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jenifer A. Stanley.
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling 866-720-5721 or visiting https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
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