Man gets 6 years for $4.2M COVID relief fraud scheme
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A South Florida man was sentenced Wednesday to six years and two months in federal prison for trying to obtain more than $4.2 million in COVID-19 relief funds by filing false loan applications.
Valesky Barosy, 28, was sentenced in Fort Lauderdale federal court, according to court records. Besides the prison time, he must also repay more than $2.1 million for the money he actually received. He was convicted by a jury in December of five counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering and one count of aggravated identity theft.
According to an indictment, Barosy submitted fraudulent loan applications on behalf of himself and his accomplices, seeking more than $4.2 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans. Barosy falsified the applicant’s prior-year expenses, net profit and payroll, and submitted fraudulent IRS tax forms, prosecutors said.
Barosy and his accomplices received approximately $2.1 million in loans from the fraudulent scheme, investigators said. Barosy’s fraudulent loan applications, and their accompanying fabricated tax documents, were found on his computer along with text messages soliciting information from prospective clients.
For each loan application, Barosy’s accomplices paid him a 20-30% kickback that he used to purchase a Lamborghini Huracán EVO, Rolex and Hublot watches and designer clothing from Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Chanel, officials said. Barosy posted photos on his Instagram account of the Lamborghini and watches, detailing his success as an entrepreneur. But his greatest success, according to one text message released by authorities, was his ability to “max out ppp. I do them very good,” he boasted.
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.
Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.