Three individuals have been charged for their participation in a conspiracy to fraudulently obtain more than $3 million in loans from a financial institution’s New York branch under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, a federal banking agency’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) said in a release Friday.
Both programs were created under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help mitigate the financial and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) OIG said that a criminal complaint was unsealed and two criminal informations were filed last week charging Anuli Okeke, Charlene Wint and Hashim Campbell. Wint and Campbell pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud, the release states, and Okeke was arrested Friday morning and made her initial appearance in the afternoon before a U.S. magistrate judge and was released on a $100,000 bond.
The charging documents allege that Okeke, a branch manager at a large financial institution referred to only as “Bank 1,” Wint, a supervisor at the same branch, and Campbell, a tax preparer, and their co-conspirators provided false tax documents and helped borrowers to complete and submit PPP applications that contained fraudulent information, the release states. Despite knowing that the PPP applications contained false statements, Okeke signed each PPP loan application on behalf of the bank and submitted them for approval, it said. It adds that once the loan proceeds were disbursed to the borrowers, Okeke, Wint, Campbell and their co-conspirators received kickbacks from the loan proceeds.
The release adds that Okeke, Wint, Campbell and their co-conspirators were involved in preparing fraudulent EIDL applications that fabricated borrower’s financials; and at times sought loans for individuals who were not legitimate business owners.
Also Friday, the FDIC OIG said a federal grand jury has indicated Rudolph Elwood Brooks, Jr., age 45, of Bowie, Md., on charges of federal wire fraud and money laundering. The nine-count indictment, it said, charges Brooks with three counts of wire fraud relating to Brooks’ transmission of loan applications submitted through the PPP in the names of three entities controlled by Brooks: Cars Direct by Gavawn HWD Bob’s Motors, Madaro, LLC, and Kingdom Tabernacle of Restoration of Ministries.
The indictment alleges that Brooks electronically submitted PPP loan applications in the name of Cars Direct, Madaro, and Kingdom Tabernacle containing false statements regarding the number of employees and payroll expenses of the entities, the OIG said, and that Brooks also submitted false tax forms not on file with the Internal Revenue Service to support the PPP loan applications. The release notes that Brooks, if convicted, faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for wire fraud and money laundering followed by three years of supervised release.