A Florida tax preparer has been charged with conspiring to fraudulently obtain more $7 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans, Economic Injury Disaster Loans Loans (EIDL), and pre-pandemic Small Business Administration loans (SBA loans) loans and to launder the proceeds of this illegal scheme.
The indictment claims that, starting in January 2018, Barrie Ju. Osborne, 76, from Celebration, conspired to obtain SBA, PPP and EIDL loans for their respective dormant or small-business operations. Osborne created fake documents including bank statements and tax documents to make the businesses look like they were operating. In return for fees. Osborne also provided a script for scheme participants to use when they called lenders. Osborne and his co-conspirators in California allegedly obtained more than $7.3 million in PPP and EIDL loans and SBA loans.
The indictment also alleges that Osborne created “forgiveness programs” that allowed the conspirators to transfer fraud proceeds as purported payroll expenses to each company that received PPP funds. This includes one of his companies. These “forgiveness” plans were created to hide the proceeds of fraud as payroll expenses. This made it appear that the loan receiver was complying with the SBA requirement that a certain percentage of PPP funds be used for payroll. Thus, increasing the chance that the loan recipient will be eligible for loan forgiveness. Osborne was charged with conspiracy for wire and bank fraud and wire fraud as well as conspiracy to launder money.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. U.S. Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Agent Jennifer Arbittier Williams, Eastern District of Pennsylvania; Special agent in charge Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite of Small Business Association Office of Inspector General. Special agent in charge Yury Kruty of IRS-Criminal Investigation Philadelphia Field Office. Special agent in charge Brian Michael of Homeland Security Investigations Philadelphia Field Office. Acting Assistant Director Jay Greenberg of FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division announced
HTML1 FBI’s Philadelphia Field Office.
Trial Attorneys David A. Stier and Patrick B. Gushue of Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section and assistant U.S. Attorney Judy G. Smith of U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Pennsylvania are pursuing the case.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent 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. For more information on the department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
Anyone with information about allegations of 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 the NCDF Web Complaint Form at https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
An indictment is only an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt in a court.