Oklahoma woman pleads guilty to $43.8 million COVID-19 fraud scheme
Oklahoma woman pleads guilty to .8 million COVID-19 fraud scheme

An Oklahoma woman pleaded guilty Thursday in the Western District of New York to a scheme to defraud the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) of more than $43.8 million in COVID-19 relief loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES).

According to court documents, Amanda J. Gloria, 45, of Altus, admitted that she conspired to submit at least 153 fraudulent PPP claims totaling approximately $43.8 million on behalf of at least least 111 entities between May 2020 and approximately June 2021. Gloria admitted to falsifying or aiding and abetting various information on these loan applications, including number of employees, salary expenses and documentation, and federal tax returns. Gloria then submitted or aided and aided in submitting the fraudulent PPP applications to financial institutions. In total, the recipient entities illegally obtained approximately $32.5 million in PPP funds. Of these fraudulently obtained funds, Gloria personally received at least approximately $1.7 million.

Gloria also admitted that she conspired with Adam D. Arena to submit a fraudulent PPP loan application requesting approximately $954,000 for ADA Auto Group LLC, a previously dormant Florida-based company owned and controlled by Arena. After fraudulently obtaining the PPP loan, Gloria ordered Arena to launder the proceeds, including transferring nearly $25,000 to a bank account held in the name of WildWest Trucking LLC, an Oklahoma-based company owned and controlled by Gloria. . Gloria also admitted to fraudulently submitting and obtaining a separate PPP loan for WildWest Trucking LLC for approximately $421,000. Arena pleaded guilty in November 2021 to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of participating in a monetary transaction with proceeds of crime in a related matter.

Gloria is due to be sentenced on July 20 and faces up to 30 years in prison for conspiracy to commit bank fraud and up to 10 years in prison for money laundering. A federal district judge will determine any sentence after considering US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; US Attorney Trini E. Ross for the Western District of New York; Deputy Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigations Division; Special Agent in Charge Stephen Belongia of the FBI Field Office in Buffalo; and Special Agent in Charge Thomas Fattorusso of the IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS‑CI) made the announcement.

The FBI and IRS-CI are investigating the case.

Deputy Chief Cory E. Jacobs and General Counsel Jennifer Bilinkas of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura A. Higgins for the Western District of New York are pursuing the case.

The Fraud Section directs the Criminal Division’s prosecution of fraud schemes that exploit the PPP. Since the inception of the CARES Act, the Fraud Section has prosecuted over 150 defendants in over 95 criminal cases and seized over $75 million in cash from fraudulently obtained PPP funds, as well as numerous real estate and luxury items purchased with such a product. More information can be found at https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/ppp-fraud.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to mobilize Department of Justice resources in partnership with government agencies to scale up enforcement and prevention efforts. pandemic-related fraud. The task force strengthens efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies administering relief programs to prevent fraud, among other methods, by increasing and integrating coordination mechanisms existing ones, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their agendas, and sharing and leveraging information and knowledge gained from previous enforcement efforts. For more information on the ministry’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.

Anyone with information about alleged attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF online complaint form at https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.

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