5 charged with defrauding pandemic relief program

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (AP) – Five current or former IRS workers were charged with illegally taking money from federal COVID-19 relief programs and spending a combined $1 million on luxury goods and personal travel, prosecutors said. accused of fraud.

The five people have been charged with wire fraud after submitting false applications for the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program as part of federal stimulus related to the pandemic response, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Memphis said Tuesday. .

The five defendants then separately used the funds to pay for a Mercedes-Benz, manicures, massages, luxury clothing, jewelry, Gucci bags and Gucci clothing, and a trip to Las Vegas, prosecutors said.

Three IRS staffers have pleaded guilty to wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Four were from the Memphis area and another lived in Olive Branch, Mississippi, prosecutors said.

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