GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA –A federal jury in Gainesville convicted Jeremie Saintvil, 46, of Delray Beach, Fla., Of bank fraud, misrepresentation to a federally insured financial institution, aggravated identity theft and misrepresentation to a federal agency. The guilty verdict, handed down Friday night after an eight-day trial, was announced by Jason R. Coody, acting United States attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
âThe theft of vital taxpayer assistance funds and the victimization of our seniors is wrong,â Acting US Attorney Coody said. âThe deceptive and sophisticated acts of this defendant not only diverted the emergency financial assistance from small businesses needed to remain in employment, but also victimized our elderly citizens, many of whom were due to their advanced age or age. disease, were more vulnerable and unable to easily discern their identity. had been stolen and used for illegal acts. With the help of our dedicated law enforcement partners, we are committed to investigating and prosecuting those who engage in elder abuse and covid fraud. “
Evidence presented at trial revealed that between February 2018 and June 2020, Saintvil submitted fraudulent claims for more than $ 1.5 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster (EIDL) loans offered by the Small United States Business Administration (SBA). As part of his scheme, Saintvil fraudulently obtained the identities of seniors who resided in senior citizens’ residences, which he then portrayed as principals in shell companies seeking forgivable loans. The fraudulent claims, which were made to nine federally insured credit unions, banks, and SBAs, distorted the number of employees and payroll expenses of the alleged companies, and made numerous other inaccurate statements in support of PPP and EIDL loan applications, including submission of falsified tax documents and banking information.
âAny attempt to defraud the PPP loan program, which is designed to support struggling businesses during the COVID 19 pandemic, is in itself a deplorable act. But Saintvil’s crimes are compounded by the fact that he used the identities of the elderly to carry out the scams, âsaid Brian Payne, special agent in charge of IRS criminal investigations. âWe are working closely with our federal agency partners to help achieve justice for those affected by these heinous crimes. “
The CARES (Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security) law is a federal law enacted on March 29, 2020. It is designed to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects resulting from the COVID-pandemic. 19. One source of relief under the CARES Act is the authorization of small business forgivable loans for job retention and certain other expenses through the PPP. The Small Business Administration (SBA) guarantees PPP loans that are funded by participating financial institutions. The PPP allows small businesses and other eligible organizations to receive loans with a two-year term and an interest rate of one percent. Businesses must use the proceeds of the PPP loan for salary costs, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities. The PPP then allows for forgiveness of interest and principal if the companies have spent the loan proceeds on qualifying expenses within a specified time frame and have used at least a certain percentage of the loan proceeds for salary expenses.
“In a time of national turmoil and uncertainty, this defendant blatantly defrauded programs designed to help Americans and their businesses,” said FBI Jacksonville Special Agent Rachel L. Rojas. âHis utter contempt for his fellow citizens during the pandemic – especially vulnerable seniors – has revealed his true colors as a fraudster. The FBI will continue to allocate resources to investigate COVID-19 and elder fraud, and will work alongside our partners to hold accountable those who use illegal means and criminal behavior to take advantage of others. “
Saintvil’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for December 20, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. at the United States Courthouse in Gainesville before the Honorable United States District Judge Allen Winsor. Saintvil faces a maximum of 30 years in federal prison for charges of bank fraud and misrepresentation to a federally insured institution, and a maximum of 5 years in prison for making a false statement to a federal agency. Saintvil also faces an additional mandatory minimum prison sentence of 2 years for the aggravated identity theft charge, which must be served consecutively to other sentences imposed.
“Greed has no place in the SBA’s programs that aim to provide assistance to small businesses across the country grappling with the challenges of the pandemic,” said Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite, regional special agent for the region. ‘East of the SBA OIG. âOur office will aggressively pursue evidence of wrongdoing and bring those responsible to justice. I want to thank the United States Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners for their dedication and pursuit of justice. “
This conviction is the result of a joint investigation by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Small Business Administration – Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. prosecutors Justin M. Keen and David Byron continued the case.
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Disaster Fraud Enforcement Center hotline at 866-720- 5721 or via the NCDF web complaint form at: https: //www.justice. gov / disaster-fraud / ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
Since President Trump enacted the bipartisan Elder Abuse Prevention Act (EAPPA), the Justice Department has participated in hundreds of enforcement actions in criminal and civil cases that disproportionately target or affect seniors. In particular, last March, the department announced the largest anti-elder fraud measure in U.S. history, charging more than 400 defendants as part of a nationwide sweep against elder fraud. elders. The Ministry has also organized hundreds of training and awareness sessions across the country since the adoption of the Law. Learn more about the Justice Department’s initiatives on elder justice and national nursing homes at http://www.justice.gov/elderjustice/.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that are the principal litigators in the country under the direction of the Attorney General. To access public court documents online, please visit the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information on the United States Attorney’s Office for the North Florida District, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.