Postal Workers Charged For Defrauding Pandemic Relief Programs
Wherever there are public programs, there is public programs fraud. The government knows it’s going to happen, and they may not have time to vet every application that comes through. Instead, they require every applicant to testify that what they are saying is the truth, disburse the funds, and then go back and conduct an audit of the applications.
That means that individuals who are committing fraud can rake in millions before they are being caught. The biggest problem for them, however, is that they already got comfortable because they thought that no one was looking. The fact that the fraud worked on the first try is not an indication that the government has moved on. It’s an indication that they haven’t thoroughly looked yet.
Ultimately, applications with discrepancies are placed into a pile even as the funds are being disbursed. The government then reviews the application for “badges of fraud” to determine if the conspirators knowingly committed the fraud and the extent of the planning involved. Only when they have enough evidence to convict do they spring the charges on the defendant.
At this point, the defendant could have been caught after the first or second fraud. However, while the government was building its case, the culprits continued to execute the scheme. This results in the overall monetary theft exceeding specific thresholds that allow for enhanced sentencing. In other words, the government has been extending the defendant more rope to hang themselves with while the defendant is thinking that they’re getting away with a crime.
Analyzing the charges
Typically, wire fraud is capped at 20 years for a sentence, but when you defraud an energy relief program, the charges can go up an extra 10 years. Ultimately, most individuals don’t go to prison for 20 years unless they’ve stolen hundreds of millions of dollars.
When it comes to fraud, there is a base sentence that would be somewhere in the range of 20 months—not years. The sentence is then determined based on who was defrauded, how they were defrauded, how much money was stolen, how sophisticated the scheme was, and how many victims there were.
In this case, the elements of the scheme required several layers of subterfuge. This included fabricating tax documents for non-existent companies that misrepresented how many employees they had. They were then disbursed payroll protection loans to ensure that their employees were cared for while their businesses were shut down. This money was diverted to their personal coffers.
The defendants, if convicted, will spend some time in prison on these charges. They will also be required to make restitution to the government in the amount of the stolen money.
Talk to a Port St. Lucie Criminal Fraud Defense Attorney Today
Eighmie Law Firm represents the interests of those who are charged with white-collar crimes. Call our Port St. Lucie criminal lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.