An indictment was unsealed charging two Florida brothers for fraudulently obtaining millions of dollars in COVID-19 pandemic relief loans and advances from the Small Business Administration through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.
According to court documents, from March 2020 through December 2021, Carl Charles, of Miramar, and his brother, Patrick Charles, of Lake Worth, together with their accomplices, submitted applications to the SBA for nearly $5 million in EIDL loans, making false statements regarding the businesses’ revenues, creation dates, and number of employees. As a result of the false and fraudulent applications, the SBA disbursed over $2.5 million in loan proceeds and advances to the defendants and others.
Carl Charles is charged with four counts of wire fraud and Patrick Charles is charged with three counts of wire fraud. If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each count.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey B. Veltri of the FBI Miami Field Office, Special Agent in Charge Mark H. Morini Jr. of the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) Southern Field Division, and Special Agent in Charge Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite of the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of the Inspector General (SBA-OIG) Investigations Division’s Eastern Region made the announcement.
The FBI, TIGTA, and SBA-OIG are investigating the case. Trial Attorneys Ariel Glasner and Samad Pardesi of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney David Snider for the Southern District of Florida are prosecuting the case.
In May 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts.
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline via the NCDF Web Complaint Form online.