Feds: Two Former NJ Residents Arrested for $3.3M COVID Fraud Scheme
Two former residents of New Jersey have been arrested for their alleged roles in fraudulently obtaining $3.3 million in federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) payments.
U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger says 51-year-old Jean E. Rabbitt has been charged with bank fraud, conspiracy to engage in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity, and engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity.
51-year-old Kevin Aguilar has been charged with conspiracy to engage in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity and engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity.
According to Sellinger's office, Rabbitt submitted fraudulent PPP loan applications on behalf of four businesses that she controlled and from those applications, her businesses received $3.33 million in federal COVID-19 emergency relief funds meant for distressed small businesses.
"After Rabbitt’s businesses received the PPP loans through the fraudulent applications, Aguilar created sham payroll companies. Rabbitt then wrote checks from Rabbitt’s businesses to the sham payroll companies, falsely indicating on each check that the payments were for payroll. Rabbitt and Aguilar then transferred funds from the sham payroll companies to other companies that Aguilar created. Aguilar and Rabbitt then used the funds to purchase residential properties in Sherman, Texas, and to pay for personal expenses."
Sellinger says Rabbitt also made false statements and used falsified documents to apply for forgiveness of some of the PPP loans.
Rabbitt and Aguilar, who both now live in Texas but were formerly from Monmouth County, were scheduled to make an initial court appearance on Wednesday.
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the U.S. Department of Justice at (866) 720-5721.
The public is reminded that charges are accusations and all persons are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.