Web money

Virginia Man Pleads Guilty in Money Laundering Paycheck Protection Program | USAO-NDIA

A Virginia man who laundered more than $900,000 in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds pleaded guilty Feb. 8, 2022, in federal court in Sioux City. Benjamin Sakyi, 31, of Dumfries, Virginia, formerly of Ghana, was found guilty of one count of money laundering conspiracy.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES”) is a federal law enacted in late March 2020 that provided emergency financial assistance, including the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) and Economic Disaster Loan Fund (“EIDL”). , to the millions of Americans who were experiencing the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence at the plea hearing and an earlier detention hearing in Virginia showed Sakyi received more than $900,000 in CARES Act funds obtained fraudulently from three different financial institutions on behalf of two Virginia companies, Blue Flight. Logistics LLC and NKB Enterprise LLC. Sakyi then transferred the funds elsewhere. Sakyi received the CARES Act funds from a Minnesota man, Donald Franklin Trosin, formerly of Armstrong, Iowa. Trosin had submitted more than 20 fraudulent PPP and EIDL loan applications to the Small Business Administration on behalf of Trosin and another individual at financial institutions in Minnesota and Iowa. Trosin falsely stated that he had 120 employees on his payroll and over $5 million in payroll expenses when in truth Trosin did not operate a business at all.

Sentencing before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand will be set after a pre-sentence report is prepared. Sakyi remains in the custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing. Sakyi faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $500,000 fine and three years of probation after any imprisonment. In July 2021, the district court sentenced Trosin to 40 months in federal prison for his role in the money laundering conspiracy.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to mobilize Department of Justice resources in partnership with government agencies to scale up enforcement and prevention efforts. pandemic-related fraud. The task force strengthens efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies administering relief programs to prevent fraud, among other methods, by increasing and integrating coordination mechanisms existing ones, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their agendas, and sharing and leveraging information and knowledge gained from previous enforcement efforts. For more information on the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.

Anyone with information about alleged attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline at 866-720-5721 or via NCDF’s online complaint form at: https://www. .justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Timothy L. Vavricek and has been investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, Small Business Administration-Office of Inspector General, and Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Information on the court file at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.

The file number is 21-CR-4013. The file number for Donald Trosin’s case is 20-CR-4066.

Follow us on Twitter @USAO_NDIA.