Ana Soto (40), was indicted for fraudulently applying for loans to support small businesses during COVID-19. Soto applied for loans to support small businesses between March 2020 and January 2021 using five different companies’ names. He also used the U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) as its authorized lender.
By Daniel Webster, dWeb.News
WILMINGTON (Del. U.S. Attorney David C. Weiss today announced that a federal grand jury indicted a Newark woman for wire fraud, loan fraud, and laundering in connection to seventeen fraudulent loan applications made under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”)
Ana Soto (40), was indicted for fraudulently applying for loans to support small businesses during COVID-19. Soto applied for loans to support small businesses between March 2020 and January 2021 using five different companies’ names. He also used the U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) as its authorized lender. Soto inflated, among other metrics the revenues and employees of the companies to get higher payments under the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (“EIDL”). Soto claimed that funds were available to businesses that had closed down or were not yet open when the pandemic began. Soto received approximately $246,000. Despite many of these requests being denied, it was because of her illegal conduct that Soto was able to obtain funds. Soto used the money to pay personal expenses that were not permitted by the PPP and EIDL programs, such as the purchase of a vehicle for her personal use.
U.S. attorney Weiss stated that the defendant used government programs to support small businesses, and their employees, in the midst a global crisis. Opportunism by the defendant at the expense the U.S. government, its citizens and its citizens deserves to be punished. Today’s indictment is the first step towards holding her responsible for her actions.
Soto was charged with wire fraud and SBA fraud. She also faces money laundering charges. She could spend up to 20 years prison if convicted. Federal crimes usually result in sentences that are less severe than the maximum.
This matter was investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigation and FBI Baltimore Division’s Wilmington Resident Agency. The case is being prosecuted by Lesley F. Wolf, Assistant U.S. attorney.
On the U.S. website, you can find a copy of this press release. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware. You can find related court documents and information on the website of the District Court for the District of Delaware, or on PACER.
The COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force was established by the Attorney General on May 17, 2021. It is a joint effort of the Department of Justice and agencies from across government to increase efforts to prevent and combat pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force supports efforts to prosecute and investigate the most culpable international and domestic criminal actors. It also assists agencies charged with administering relief programs to stop fraud. This includes, among other things, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanism, identifying resources, techniques to uncover fraudulent actors, and sharing information and insights from previous enforcement efforts. https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus has more information about the Department’s response.
Anyone with information regarding allegations of fraud involving COVID-19 may call the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at (866)720-5721, or use the NCDF Web Complaint Form http://www.justice.gov/disasterfraud/ncdf–disaster–complaint-form.
Indictments contain allegations that a defendant committed a crime. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.
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