A Coral Springs, Florida police officer has been indicted by a federal grand jury for using COVID 19 grants and low-interest loans to restore his classic car. The US Small Business Administration has offered loans and grants to provide relief to some businesses affected by COVID restrictions and fallout. Today, a federal district court released the indictment.
How did the cop get the funds for his classic car?
According to the Southern District of Florida justice department, the indictment alleges that Jason Scott Carter applied for an economic disaster loan for his business, Jason S. Carter, Inc. There are numerous conditions that must be certified by the plaintiff to be eligible for the money. One of these conditions is to certify that the applicant will only use the funds for business expenses due to COVID-related economic harm.
But the grand jury alleges that at least $21,000 was for parts and service for his classic car. Unfortunately, the indictment does not describe what the classic car is. For conviction, Carter faces 20 years in federal prison. The indictment also includes one count of wire fraud.
What were SBA COVID loans used for?
It has become apparent that there have been numerous incidents of alleged fraud in connection with assistance from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. Emergency assistance to small businesses and individuals was the expectation of the program. Most companies legitimately needed the funds and used them for these purposes.
The SBA has also offered its Economic Disaster Loans for grants and low-interest loans for business financial hardship in COVID-related circumstances. All loans were processed online and, if approved, the SBA sent the funds directly.
A task force has been created to look into potential COVID loan fraud
However, in 2021 there were numerous reports in the media and online of claimants using the funds for a wide variety of non-business related expenses. So on May 17, 2021, the Attorney General launched the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force. With the help of the Department of Justice and other federal agencies, he began to investigate these allegations.
The task force has also assisted other municipalities and individuals responsible for certifying claims, investigating and tracking fraud. This included sharing information between agencies to help escalate and narrow down investigations. Obviously, these criminal activities take time to determine fraud. That’s why it took some time for some of these charges to surface.
Carter made his first appearance last week before a US magistrate. He was released on bail and is now awaiting trial. The Miami Regional Office of the Department of Home and Human Services and the Tampa FBI conducted the investigation. Once the verdict is in, we’ll update this post.
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