St. Louis Man Sentenced To 2 Years in Prison for COVID-Related Fraud
In 2020, Prince Vamboi used an N-95 mask to defraud a Wisconsin corporation out of $159,000. He also admitted to further deceptions.
After earning more than $200,000 through frauds, including an N-95 mask scam, a St. Louis man was sentenced to two years in prison. Prince Vamboi, 40, was sentenced to two years in prison on Tuesday after pleading guilty in February to three felony counts of wire fraud conspiracy and one count of bank fraud.
Vamboi defrauded a Wisconsin corporation out of $159,000 in an N-95 scam in 2020, according to a news statement from the Department of Justice. Vamboi’s co-conspirator ordered Verona Safety Supply to send the money to one of Vamboi’s bank accounts for the masks, but the company never got them. Vamboni acquired a $18,750 Paycheck Protection Program loan unlawfully the next year. He also deposited money he unlawfully received from the state of Washington for unemployment insurance.
Vamboni also acknowledged changing a $35,098 check by replacing the name of a Texas company with his own and depositing it in a bank account he controlled. The US Postal Inspection Service looked into the matter. Diane is an Assistant United States Attorney who attended to the matter. The United States Postal Inspection Service and its law enforcement partners will aggressively investigate those who deal in checks stolen from the U.S. Mail as part of their fraud schemes,” Inspector in Charge William Hedrick said in a press release.
Hedrick is the head of the Inspection Service’s Chicago Division, which includes the St. Louis Field Office. In December, the U.S. The Secret Service said nearly $100 billion at minimum has been stolen from COVID-19 relief programs set up to help businesses and people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
The estimate was based on Secret Service cases and data from the Labor Department and the Small Business Administration, said Roy Dotson, the agency’s national pandemic fraud recovery coordinator, in an interview. The Secret Service didn’t include COVID-19 fraud cases prosecuted by the Justice Department. While the fraud accounts for roughly 3% of the $3.4 trillion dispersed, the amount stolen from pandemic benefits programs shows “the sheer size of the pot is enticing to the criminals,” Dotson said.
More on Corona Virus Scams
Three persons have previously pleaded guilty to participation in COVID-19 relief fraud schemes.
According to David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, the defendants were all charged via information as a result of ongoing investigations into the misuse of the US government’s COVID-19 financial relief programs. Following their guilty pleas, the defendants face up to 30 years in prison, as well as significant reparations and fines, followed by a term of supervised release. In the federal system, there is no such thing as parole.
U.S. Attorney Estes stated, “Congress approved significant cash to assist small businesses during the early shutdowns and financial problems of the COVID-19 outbreak.” “We will identify and hold accountable anyone who exploits these funds to fulfill their own greed at the expense of taxpayers, working with our law enforcement partners.”
In March 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law. The Small Business Administration (SBA) was allowed by the CARES Act to give and/or guarantee loans to keep small businesses afloat during the pandemic’s financial hardships. Three individuals agreed to profiting from these programs, while a fourth is awaiting additional legal proceedings. In order to get Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and/or Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, all of the defendants admitted or were accused of making false and fraudulent representations about their enterprises, real or imaginary.
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Among the defendants are the following
After pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Commit an Offense Against the United States Government, Shakeena Hamilton, 34, of McRae, Ga., is awaiting sentencing.
Hamilton admitted to assisting others in illegally applying for PPP relief in pleading guilty to the COVID-19 fraud charge, with her activities resulting in the government disbursing more than $2.3 million to banks for other conspirators. The scam netted Hamilton more than $300,000 in kickbacks from the co-conspirators in exchange for her help.
After pleading guilty to Wire Fraud, Anissa Carr, 22, of Hinesville, Ga., and her husband, Montrez Burns, 24, also of Hinesville, are awaiting sentencing. Each defendant acknowledged obtaining tens of thousands of dollars in PPP funding for bogus enterprises through deception.
Anatoly Rybin, 41, of Richmond Hill, Ga., was charged with False Statement on a Loan Application through Information in connection with an application to the SBA for an EIDL loan for which he got $110,300. He is awaiting the outcome of his case in court. Only charges are contained in criminal information; defendants are presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.
SBA OIG Special Agent in Charge Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite remarked, “The Office of Inspector General stands behind the nation’s small businesses by securing and preserving SBA programs that support and uplift them through difficult times.” “The Office of Inspector General remains committed to rooting out corrupt actors and safeguarding the integrity of SBA programs.” I’d like to express my gratitude to the US Department of Justice and our law enforcement partners for their commitment to justice.”
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- Author: Associated Press https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/missouri/articles/2022-04-12/st-louis-man-sentenced-in-coronavirus-aid-fraud-scheme
- Author: Trinity Audio https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/st-louis-county-man-sentenced-to-prison-for-lying-to-get-2-7m-in-covid/article_efd783dd-bdf1-504f-b5d4-1cdb9eeed206.html
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