Three men were convicted yesterday in the Central District of North Carolina for fraudulently seeking over $ 2.7 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and law on financial security.
Joseph Marsell Cartlidge, 30, of Greensboro, North Carolina, was sentenced to 72 months in prison; David Christopher Redfern, 32, of Trinity, North Carolina, was sentenced to 60 months in prison; and Eric Alexander McMiller, 30, of Chicago, Illinois, were sentenced to 66 months in prison. Each defendant was also ordered to pay $ 498,657 in damages.
According to court documents, Cartlidge, Redfern and McMiller joined a scheme led by James Stote, who along with others recruited the defendants to apply for fraudulent PPP loans to registered companies, with the understanding and agreement that they would provide part of the proceeds. from the OPP loan. to their recruiter. Between May and June 2020, the defendants filed fraudulent PPP loan applications that provide an incorrect representation of the number of employees and the average monthly wage costs for the defendants’ various companies. The defendants provided false tax and banking information in support of their loan applications. Defendants also independently applied for fraudulent EIDLs and incorrect information about the number of employees, gross revenue and cost of goods sold for each company. In total, the defendants sought over $ 2.7 million in PPP loans and EIDL funds. The defendants then used the loan proceeds for their own personal benefits, including for luxury purchases and cash withdrawals.
On December 15, 2021, Stote pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud in the northern district of Ohio.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. from the Ministry of Justice’s penal department; U.S. Attorney Sandra J. Hairston of the Middle District of North Carolina; Acting Special Agent Responsible Mona Passmore from IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Charlotte Field Office; Special Agent Kyle Myles of the FDIC-OIG Atlanta Region; Responsible Special Agent Mark Morini of the U.S. Treasury Department (TIGTA) Southeast Field Division; and Special Agent in charge Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite of the SBA’s Office of Inspector General (SBA-OIG) Eastern Region announced this announcement.
TIGTA, FDIC-OIG and IRS-CI investigated the case. The Ministry of Justice thanks SBA-OIG for their support and assistance.
Prosecutors Jennifer Bilinkas and Jessee Alexander-Hoeppner of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicole Dupre of the Central District of North Carolina and Meredith Ruggles, formerly of the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Middle District of North Carolina, pursued the case.
In May 2021, the Attorney General COVID-19 set up the Fraud Enforcement Task Force to pool the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to increase efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force strengthens efforts to investigate and prosecute the most guilty domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering emergency programs to prevent fraud, by, among other things, expanding and integrating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques for detecting fraudulent actors and their schemes and the sharing and exploitation of information and insights gained from previous enforcement efforts. For more information on the department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
Anyone with information about fraud attempt allegations involving 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.