Attorney General Moody’s Statewide Prosecutors Charge Four in COVID Loan Fraud Scheme
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution is charging Steeve Roberts, Johnnie Jean, Amanda Pierre-Philippe, and Stephanie Paul for operating a COVID loan fraud scheme that stole more than half a million dollars. Roberts and Jean face one count each of organized scheme to defraud, conspiracy to commit organized scheme to defraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit money laundering charges. Pierre-Philippe and Paul face one count each of conspiracy to commit money laundering. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement assisted in arresting the defendants.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “These criminals stole more than half a million dollars by filing fraudulent loan applications to COVID relief programs. Money intended to help keep jobs during the pandemic were instead used for their own personal purchases. I am grateful for the strong investigative work by our law enforcement partners working with my Statewide Prosecutors in this case.”
Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Mark Glass said, “Criminals like this, who think they can commit gross fraud without being caught, and at the expense of law-abiding citizens who honestly relied upon this financial assistance, will not go unpunished. I commend the tremendous work conducted by FDLE’s agents and analysts, as well as by Attorney General Ashley Moody’s investigators.”
The investigation began in March 2021, when Attorney General Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution discovered Roberts used funds obtained from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act as a source of personal income.
Investigators learned that Roberts fraudulently applied for Payroll Protection Plan loan and an Economic Injury Disaster Loan. Roberts also created a shell corporation based out of North Miami Beach, claiming to be in the business services sector.
Roberts received more than $500,000 in federal COVID relief funds through the deception about the business’ activity, profits and losses and number of employees. Instead of using the funds for the business, Roberts used the money as a down payment to purchase a Coral Springs home, purchase luxury goods, and post bond for an acquaintance.
The investigation revealed several family members’ involvement in the scheme, including Jean, Roberts’ wife, as well as Pierre-Philippe and Paul, Roberts’ nieces.
The case will be prosecuted by Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution.
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