MIAMI – Thieves used a chain of lies to get more than $3 million of federal funds wired to bank accounts during the coronavirus pandemic, federal agents say.
The crooks from South Florida used stolen social securities to create false identifications to set up fake companies that they used to open fraudulent bank accounts, federal prosecutors said.
Two men from Miami-Dade and Broward counties then used the fraudulent bank accounts to file applications on behalf of the shell companies to pay employees that didn’t exist, prosecutors said.
Jean Fleuridor, of Weston, and Hasan Brown, of Aventura, are accused of handling hundreds of fraudulent bank accounts and using U.S. Post Office forwarding services to handle the related mail.
Fleuridor, 41, and Brown, 44, are also accused of defrauding the Paycheck Protection Program, which was meant to help save jobs.
According to FDIC-OIG Special Agent David Brant, the men managed to receive PPP payments ranging from $60,000 to $1.4 million and $1.7 million. The men allegedly started a fraudulent scheme in 2017 that allowed them to submit the fraudulent applications from April to July.
Fleuridor and Brown are each facing bank fraud conspiracy charges. Fleuridor appeared in federal court on Wednesday and Brown appeared in court on Friday. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brooke Watson, of the Southern District of Florida, is prosecuting the case.
Federal agents are asking anyone with information about PPP fraud to contact the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721.