Nevada Man Sentenced for COVID-19 Relief Loan Fraud and Money Laundering

Nevada Man Sentenced for COVID-19 Relief Loan Fraud and Money Laundering

Man Sentenced to Prison for Fraudulently Obtaining Over $500,000 in Relief Loans

In a recent legal development, a Nevada man, Brandon Casutt, has been sentenced to two years and four months in prison for engaging in fraudulent activities related to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program loans.

These loans were guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Casutt’s fraudulent actions also involved laundering the unlawfully obtained funds through the involvement of family members, friends, and other accomplices.

False Applications for Millions

Casutt, a resident of Henderson, was found to have submitted multiple false and fraudulent applications to the SBA and four SBA lenders on behalf of two entities he controlled.

These applications were designed to fraudulently secure more than $5.7 million in loans. Ultimately, two of these applications were successful.

The first was a PPP loan in the amount of approximately $350,000, designated for a business named Sky DeSign, which was fictitious. The second was an EIDL program loan of around $150,000 for a purported charity named Skyler’s CF Foundation.

Both applications falsely asserted the existence of numerous employees, significant payroll expenses, and substantial revenue. In reality, neither entity had any employees or disbursed any wages.

Money Laundering Scheme

After obtaining the PPP funds, Casutt orchestrated a money laundering scheme. He issued dozens of counterfeit payroll checks, each amounting to approximately $8,330, payable to himself, family members, and friends.

Many of these checks were inscribed with misleading descriptions like “pandemic pay” or “back pay.” Casutt subsequently cashed or deposited these fraudulent paychecks.

Following this, at Casutt’s direction, the funds were funneled back into a bank account under his control. Ultimately, he employed the ill-gotten money to purchase a residence in Henderson.

Legal Proceedings and Announcement

On August 26, 2020, Casutt pled guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering aimed at concealing the proceeds of unlawful activities.

The announcement of this sentencing was made by Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Jason M. Frierson for the District of Nevada, Special Agent in Charge Al Childress of the IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Phoenix Field Office, and Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division.

Prosecution and Task Force

The case was investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) and the FBI Las Vegas Field Office. It was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Sara Hallmark and Assistant Chief Cory E. Jacobs of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, along with former Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric C. Schmale for the District of Nevada, with the assistance of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jessica Oliva and Daniel Hollingsworth.

The Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force in May 2021 to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud effectively. For additional information on the department’s response to the pandemic, please visit www.justice.gov/coronavirus.

Reporting Fraud

Individuals with information regarding COVID-19-related fraud can report it to the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline through the NCDF Web Complaint Form at www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.

Efforts Against PPP Fraud

The Fraud Section leads the Criminal Division’s efforts to prosecute fraud schemes exploiting the PPP. Since the inception of the CARES Act, the Fraud Section has pursued legal action against over 200 defendants in more than 130 criminal cases.

Furthermore, they have seized over $78 million in cash proceeds obtained through fraudulently obtained PPP funds, as well as numerous real estate properties and luxury items purchased with these ill-gotten gains. Additional information can be found at www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/ppp-fraud.

Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn

Read Related News On TDPel Media

Advertisement
Advertisement: Download Vital Signs App (VS App)