Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Inspector General: Daughter Used Dead Mother's Name to Get COVID Money for Apartment; Miami-Area Attorney was Charged with Fiancé in Pandemic Fraud Case. A Judge Acquitted Her, and other C-Virus related stories

Inspector general: Daughter used dead mother's name to get COVID money for apartment:
A month does not seem to go by without Palm Beach County Inspector General John Carey finding a case of COVID-19 fraud.
He has already recovered more than $200,000, mostly from efforts to illegally obtain emergency housing assistance when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its peak. Applicants have used fake pay stubs, filed duplicate applications and falsified income to illegally obtain money from the program that is administered by Palm Beach County.
But last week, Carey released a report that showed fraud being taken to a new level. A resident filed an application for a rental unit in West Palm Beach in her mother’s name. The problem was that her mother had died six months earlier. The lease submitted to the county was forged.
The daughter claimed to be her mother’s landlord. She was not. The daughter moved into the unit after the mother died. The daughter also illegally obtained a food card with $900 in assistance. Part of the money was used to pay off an automobile loan.
Carey has referred his findings to the U.S. Attorney's office. Carey reported that $9,500 in inappropriate payments were made. The county has agreed to attempt to recover the funds. --->READ MORE HERE
Miami-area attorney was charged with fiancé in pandemic fraud case. A judge acquitted her:
Two years ago, a South Florida lawyer was charged with her fiancé and others in what appeared to be a textbook conspiracy case accusing them of applying for million of dollars in federal government loans meant to help small businesses survive during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pembroke Pines attorney Mariel Tollinchi had to post a $250,000 bond, including $50,000 in cash, and wear an electronic ankle bracelet, to gain her release before trial while her liberty and law practice remained in limbo.
But on Friday, Tollinchi, 37, gained her freedom when a federal judge acquitted her of fraud, money laundering and identity theft charges after prosecutors completed their side of the case during a jury trial in Fort Lauderdale. The evidence in the case was so weak that U.S. District Judge Rodney Smith granted her lawyers’ motion for acquittal on all charges before they even put on a defense.
“Intent was the issue at trial, and the government failed to prove any intent on her part to defraud the [pandemic] loan program,” her attorneys, Jessica Duque and Sam Rabin, said Monday after the week-long trial. They called Tollinchi a “victim” of her former fiancé’s deception.
Tollinchi’s legal victory — which kept her from being convicted, going to prison and losing her law license — followed a string of similar outcomes against almost all of the other defendants charged in the $8 million pandemic loan fraud case.
Of the five defendants charged together, only one was sent to prison: Tollinchi’s one-time fiancé, Joff✓ Philossaint. In 2022, he pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering and was sentenced to more than four years for filing more than two dozen fabricated pandemic loan applications for other people and pocketing a 10% commission fee, according to federal court records. --->READ MORE HERE
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