Monday, July 11, 2022

Two St. Paul-area women indicted in $5.4 million fraud involving pandemic benefits; He rapped about COVID fraud. Now he faces prison — for COVID fraud, feds say, and other C-Virus related stories

Two St. Paul-area women indicted in $5.4 million fraud involving pandemic benefits:
The women allegedly charged others thousands in fees to file false applications for PPP loans and unemployment benefits.
Two women from the St. Paul area submitted hundreds of false applications to coronavirus pandemic relief programs, causing the U.S. government and multiple states to pay out at least $5.4 million in fraudulent benefits, according to two indictments filed in U.S. District Court in Minnesota.
Tequisha Solomon, 39, was charged with six felony counts of wire fraud and 35-year-old Takara Hughes with five counts.
According to the indictments filed last week:
Solomon, who lived in Woodbury and South St. Paul before moving to Las Vegas, accepted fees of around $2,000 each to file at least 200 fake benefits applications, including one on behalf of a Minnesota prison inmate.
Between June 2020 and January 2022, she caused at least $4.2 million in fraudulent benefits to be paid out through the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans and state and federal unemployment programs.
Besides helping others with their frauds, Solomon directly obtained her own benefits: $18,000 in unemployment payments from Minnesota, $25,000 from Illinois and $37,000 from California, plus $41,666 in federal PPP loans.
The government says she used the proceeds to buy a Range Rover in August 2020, traded up for a Land Rover Velar in April 2021 and traded up again for a Jaguar sedan in January 2022. --->READ MORE HERE
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He rapped about COVID fraud. Now he faces prison — for COVID fraud, feds say:
A Tennessee rapper agreed to plead guilty to federal fraud and firearms charges after posting a YouTube music video rapping about committing pandemic-related unemployment benefits fraud, federal officials said in a July 6 news release.
Fontrell Antonio Baines, 33, who goes by “Nuke Bizzle,” agreed to plead guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, according to the Department of Justice. The plea is expected in coming days in the United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles.
Between July 2020 and September 2020, Baines participated in a scheme to fraudulently gain unemployment benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provision under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES), his plea agreement says.
The CARES act was passed in March 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The act provided more than $2 trillion in economic relief to people in the United States as they coped with the health and economic impacts of the pandemic. Within the CARES Act was a new program, PUA, which was established to provide unemployment benefits to people who did not qualify for regular unemployment. Included in this program were self-employed workers. --->READ MORE HERE
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