New York man arrested for COVID-19 fraud scheme | USAO-MA
BOSTON — A New York man was arrested today on charges stemming from a scheme to fraudulently obtain business loans and unemployment pandemic relief funds made available under the CARES Act ( Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security).
Ronald Buie, 35, has been charged with one count of wire fraud. Buie will make a first appearance in federal court for the Eastern District of New York this afternoon and will appear in Boston at a later date.
According to billing documents, Buie engaged in a scheme to defraud the US Small Business Administration (SBA) by submitting fraudulent applications for loans offered under the CARES Act. It is alleged that Buie applied for SBA loans under various false identities for which he also opened bank accounts and email accounts. Buie also allegedly submitted fraudulent documents to apply for and obtain a fraudulent loan from the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program for his business, Platinum Car Service LLC. Specifically, in support of his loan application, Buie allegedly provided what he claimed was a monthly bank statement for his business checking account showing an ending balance of over $198,000, while bank statements for that particular month show that the actual balance was less than $3,000. Furthermore, it is alleged that Buie’s scheme also involved the use of various false identities to apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits.
The wire fraud charge carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of probation and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.
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 about the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Frederick J. Regan, Special Agent in Charge, US Secret Service, Boston Field Office; Jonathan Mellone, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Investigations of Racketeering and Labor Fraud; and Ketty Larco-Ward, Inspector in Charge of the United States Postal Inspection Service, made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was provided by the United States Secret Service, New York Field Office; Massachusetts Department of Unemployed Assistance; and the New York City Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney William F. Abely, head of Rollins’ criminal division, is prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a court.