September 10, 2020

DOJ brings money laundering charges against alleged CARES Act fraudsters

On September 10, 2020, the US Department of Justice announced money laundering charges against seven individuals from Georgia and South Carolina.  According to the indictment, in May 2020 Christopher Agard submitted a fraudulent application for a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) authorized by Congress in March 2020 as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.  The PPP allows qualifying small businesses to receive loans to be used for payroll and other costs.  As alleged in the indictment, Agard distributed the fraudulently obtained loan to the other defendants, who conspired to launder the proceeds of the loan through various bank accounts.  The indictment also alleges that in October 2019, prior to the PPP scheme, the defendants participated in a scheme to launder the proceeds of a different fraudulent transaction.

The defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in violation of 18 USC §1956(h) and 18 USC §1349. The indictment also contains forfeiture allegations involving over $2 million seized from bank accounts belonging to businesses associated with the alleged money laundering scheme.

DOJ press release | Indictment