As Congress and the White House debate more emergency help for the U.S. economy, local prosecutors are charging some people with ripping off the previous stimulus plan.
One of the biggest components of the emergency COVID-19 stimulus program was the Paycheck Protection Program — the massive set of loans to small businesses.
In Alexandria, Virginia, federal authorities said they charged a couple with falsifying documents and applying for 18 of those loans to a dozen different banks and were approved for more than $1 million. According to charging documents, Monica Jaworska and Tarik Jafaar $30,000 of that in cash. They were stopped while trying to flee the country, prosecutors said.
An attorney for Jaworska said his client has no criminal history and has not yet had an opportunity to enter a plea in the case.
In a separate case, a Virginia man with a criminal history and on supervised release is accused of falsifying paperwork about having businesses and scoring $190,000 in relief money before he was stopped.
“Anytime you’re pushing out trillions of dollars in government money, you’re going to have looking to take advantage … when you’ve got to get that money out quickly or it’s too late. The business has gone under,” said Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
In Maryland, the top federal prosecutor also set up a team to investigate cases of possible fraud.