Florida Man Charged for Allegedly Filing $4.2M in False COVID Relief Claims

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A Florida man, 27, was charged for fraudulently claiming more than $4.2 million in COVID-19 relief loans via the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

Valesky Barosy of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was accused of using the money to buy expensive clothing, cars, and watches, according to The Hill. Prosecutors said Barosy filed loan applications for over $4.2 million using faked documents with false prior year-end expenses, payroll, net profit, and IRS tax documents.

Barosy and his accomplices received approximately half of that money, which they spent on a Rolex and Hublot watches, designer clothing from Gucci and Louis Vuitton, and a Lamborghini Huracan EVO, according to the report. Barosy faces five counts of fraud, three counts of money laundering and one count of aggravated identity theft, and faces up to 132 years in prison if convicted.

There have been numerous attempts at PPP fraud since the program was started, as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Securities Act (CARES Act), during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To combat COVID-19-related fraud, Attorney General Merrick Garland began a COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force in May. In addition, the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis expanded its own PPP fraud investigation in November.