Florida couple charged with more than $2M in COVID-19 relief fraud

Florida couple charged with more than $2M in COVID-19 relief fraud

16 Jun    AP, Finance News, PMN Business

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FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — A southwest Florida couple has been charged with stealing more than $2 million in COVID-19 relief funds and using the money to buy boats, new businesses and other luxury items.

Timothy Craig Jolloff, 46, and Lisa Ann Jolloff, 56, made their initial appearances Friday in Fort Myers federal court on charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering and illegal monetary transactions, according to court records. Timothy Jolloff is also charged with one count of wire fraud.

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According to a criminal complaint, Timothy Jolloff submitted false and fraudulent Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Paycheck Protection Program loan applications in the spring of 2020 to the Small Business Administration, as well as a PPP approved lender. This caused the SBA and a PPP lender to approve and fund 11 disaster loans and six PPP loans, totaling about $2.14 million, prosecutors said.

The Jolloffs then used the money to purchase three pontoon boats, real estate in Indiana, home furnishings, outdoor kitchens for their homes, a 2020 Polaris utility vehicle, jewelry and two dogs, investigators said. The couple also purchased a furniture business in Indiana and a landscaping business in Florida, which had no connection to the businesses for which the couple had obtained COVID relief funds, officials said.

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Online court records didn’t list defense attorneys for the Jolloffs.

The Paycheck Protection Program involves billions of dollars in forgivable small-business loans for Americans struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The money must be used to pay employees, mortgage interest, rent and utilities. It is part of the coronavirus relief package that became federal law in 2020.

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The Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is designed to provide economic relief to small businesses that are experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. The Main Street Lending Program was designed to provide support to small- and medium-size businesses and their employees across the United States during the pandemic.

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