Documents falsely alleged that applicants operated faith-based organizations and churches
TOLEDO, Ohio – As the pandemic progressed, aid packages and incentives were administered to help the economy and hardworking Americans. The US Small Business Administration (SBA) has come together to create guaranteed aid funds for qualified companies under Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES).
However, those funds distributed were sought by six people allegedly involved in a fraud.
“COVID-19 relief funds are designed to support hardworking Americans and small businesses struggling with financial challenges due to the pandemic,” said acting US attorney Bridget M. Brennan. “The US Attorney’s Office is committed to prosecuting anyone who allegedly fraudulently received aid.”
Brennan announced that a federal grand jury in Cleveland has returned a 14-point indictment against six people for their alleged roles in a fraudulent fundraising system for approximately $ 9 million in COVID-19 aid.
“The CARES Act was enacted with provisions designed to help keep businesses afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Bryant Jackson, special agent for the IRS Criminal Investigation Cincinnati Field Office. “Individuals who use or continue to use the programs as a ‘get rich quick’ program will be held accountable for their actions.”
Terrence L. Pounds, 44, of Holland, Ohio; Charles B. Tiller, 37, of Columbus, Ohio; Terri Davis, 30, of Old Hickory, Tennessee; Randolph Nunn, 48, of Canton, Ohio; Samira Abdul-Karim, 27, of New Haven, Connecticut; and Quwan Simmons, 28, of Hartford, Connecticut, are all charged with conspiracy to commit wire and wire fraud. In addition, Pfund, Nunn, Davis and Tiller are charged with various money laundering cases.
Six of them were accused of fraudulently attempting to raise $ 9 million in COVID aid funds. @FBICleveland @IRS_CI https://t.co/xq2B8fafkG
– U.S. Attorney – Nordohio (@NDOHnews) May 4, 2021
According to the indictment, the six defendants and other defendants known and unknown to the grand jury will be charged from March 31 to December 17, 2020, of developing a system to defraud the SBA and other financial institutions by obtaining catastrophe loans for economic violations ( EIDL) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans under false pretenses.
The indictment states that Pounds enlisted Tiller, Davis, Nunn, Abul-Karim, Simmons, and others to provide him with their personal identification information, which he then used to apply for EIDL loans on their behalf. Pounds claimed he and his recruits were a nonprofit “faith-based organization” that also claimed to be a “church” with sales of $ 1 million and 15 employees. Because of this false information, the SBA approved these loan applications and each recruit repaid a portion of their reduction amount in pounds.
According to authorities, Pounds, Tiller, Davis, Nunn, Abdul-Karim and Simmons along with other co-conspirators have filed at least 60 fraudulent EIDL loan applications and other fraudulent PPP loan applications that totaled around $ 9 million. The SBA approved approximately $ 3.3 million.
“These six people allegedly defrauded United States taxpayers by participating in this system,” said FBI special agent Eric B. Smith. Continue to work with our partners to eradicate fraudsters involved in criminal financial fraud involved. “
An indictment is just an indictment and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial, in which it is the government’s responsibility to establish beyond any doubt the guilty party.
This investigation was conducted by the Cleveland FBI – Canton Resident Agency and the IRS – Criminal Investigations. This case is being prosecuted by US assistant attorneys Brendan D. O’Shea and Elliot Morrison.
The public is encouraged to submit all allegations of COVID-19 fraud to the National Center for Disaster Fraud hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF web complaint form.