Two former employees of the New York branch of a major bank and an accountant charged with Cares Act loan fraud | USAO-EDNY


Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, a criminal complaint was unsealed and two criminal information was filed yesterday against Anuli Okeke, Charlene Wint and Hashim Campbell, respectively, for their participation in a conspiracy to commit a crime. bank and electronic fraud as part of a scheme. to fraudulently obtain over $ 3 million from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Disaster Loan Program (EIDL), both created by Congress under the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid , Relief, and Economic Security). Wint and Campbell pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiring to commit banking and electronic fraud before US investigating judge Roanne L. Mann. Okeke was arrested this morning and first appeared this afternoon before US trial judge Robert M. Levy, who released the accused on $ 100,000 bail.

Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Kenneth A. Polite, Jr., Deputy Attorney General of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice; Michael J. Driscoll, deputy director in charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI); John Grasso, Special Agent in Charge, Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General (SSA-OIG); Jay N. Lerner, Inspector General, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of the Inspector General (FDIC-OIG); Stephen Donnelly, Acting Special Agent, Office of the Inspector General of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Office of Consumer Financial Protection, Eastern Region (FRS-OIG); and Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite, Special Agent in Charge of the Inspector General’s Office of the US Small Business Administration, Eastern Region Office (SBA-OIG) announced the charges.

“As alleged, the defendants conspired to steal millions of funds specifically earmarked by Congress to provide emergency aid to small businesses and vulnerable workers during a global pandemic and a time of great economic hardship,” the prosecutor said. Acting American Kasulis. “Working with our law enforcement partners, this office will vigorously prosecute defendants who shamelessly seek to make money by taking advantage of government programs designed to help those in need during the COVID crisis. “

“Fraudulent schemes exploiting the paycheck protection program are unfortunately all too common. Okeke, Wint and Campbell, as charged today, join the ranks of others before them who have taken it upon themselves to personally and illegally benefit from protections offered to small businesses during a global pandemic. They are probably not the last, however, and the FBI and our partners will continue to uncover other schemes of this nature and to be their perpetrators in court, ”said FBI Deputy Director Driscoll.

“Our office will relentlessly investigate fraud schemes and root them out,” said Special Agent in charge of the SBA-OIG, McCall-Brathwaite. “The SBA’s PPP and EIDL programs are intended to provide assistance to small businesses across the country struggling with the challenges of the pandemic. I want to thank the United States Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners for their dedication and pursuit of justice. “

“The defendants in this case – two bank officials from a large financial institution and an accountant – are accused of abusing the bank’s operations for their personal gain, in order to fraudulently obtain government guaranteed loans. [which were intended to help small businesses during the current pandemic]. We remain committed to working with our law enforcement partners to investigate instances where individuals seek to exploit federal aid programs and threaten to undermine the integrity of our nation’s banks, ”said the Inspector General of the FDIC Lerner.

“We are fully committed to holding accountable all wrongdoers whose fraudulent actions affect the Federal Reserve’s ability to assist small businesses under the Paycheck Protection Program’s Liquidity Facility,” said the FRS-OIG Special Agent Donnelly.

The CARES Act is a federal law enacted on March 29, 2020 to provide emergency financial assistance related to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief under the CARES Act was the allocation of funds for the issuance of forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and certain other expenses under the PPP. The PPP enabled eligible small businesses to receive unsecured loans on favorable terms, which they were required to use for specific expenses, including salary costs, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities. . The PPP provided for the cancellation of the loan if the recipient companies spent the proceeds of these specified expenses within a limited time frame and used a certain percentage for wage costs.

Another source of assistance provided by the CARES Act was the EIDL program, which provided low-interest financing to small businesses, tenants and landlords in areas affected by declared disasters. Under the program, EIDL recipients were eligible to receive advances of up to $ 10,000 for small businesses within three days of their EIDL Advance application. The amount of the EIDL Advance was determined on the basis of the number of employees working for the applicant. The EIDL Advance did not have to be repaid.

As alleged in the prosecution documents, Okeke, branch manager of a large financial institution, Wint, supervisor of the same branch, and Campbell, tax preparer, along with their co-conspirators, provided false documents. tax and helped borrowers complete and submit PPP applications containing fraudulent information. Despite knowing that the PPP requests contained false statements, Okeke signed each PPP loan request on behalf of the bank and submitted them for approval. After the loan proceeds were paid to the borrowers, Okeke, Wint, Campbell and their accomplices received bribes from the loan proceeds. Additionally, Okeke, Wint, Campbell and their co-conspirators were involved in the preparation of fraudulent EIDL claims that fabricated the borrower’s financial data and sometimes requested loans from people who were not homeowners. legitimate business.

The charges in the complaint are allegations, and Okeke is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The government’s case is handled by the Office’s Corporate and Securities Fraud Section and the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julia Nestor, Chand Edwards-Balfour, and Lindsay Gerdes of the Eastern District of New York, and Attorney Michael McCarthy of the Fraud Section are charged with the prosecution, with assistance from the Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian D. Morris of the Office’s Asset Forfeiture Section.

The defendants:

ANULI OKEKE
Age: 49
Bronx, New York

CHARLENE WINT
Age: 54
Bronx, New York

HASHIM CAMPBELL
Age: 41
New York, New York

EDNY files n ° 21-CR-477 (FB), 21-CR-478 (FB) and 21-CR-477 (FB)


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