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Three Charged with COVID-19 Relief Fraud Scheme

Three people were arrested today on criminal charges in three separate indictments filed in the District of Idaho. These charges relate to the defendants’ alleged roles in fraudulently obtaining and misusing Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.

According to court documents, Khadijah Chapman, 58, of Atlanta; Daniel Labrum, 41, of South Jordan, Utah; and Eric O’Neil, 57, of Bethel, Connecticut, are charged with fraudulently obtaining PPP loans for fictitious businesses in 2021. The defendants, along with others, allegedly falsified information and submitted fraudulent documents to collectively obtain over $2.4 million in relief funding guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Relief, Aid, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for small businesses struggling with the economic impact of COVID-19. 

Chapman and O’Neil are each charged with one count of bank fraud, and Labrum is charged with five counts of bank fraud and one count of engaging in monetary transactions with criminally derived proceeds for their roles in the scheme. If convicted, Chapman, Labrum, and O’Neil each face a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison for each count of bank fraud. Labrum additionally faces a maximum of 10 years in prison for engaging in monetary transactions with criminally derived proceeds. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Joshua D. Hurwit for the District of Idaho; Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigation Division; Special Agent in Charge Stephen Belongia of the FBI’s Buffalo Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Thomas Fattorusso of the IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI); and Inspector in Charge Ketty Larco-Ward of the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) made the announcement. 

The FBI, IRS-CI, and USPIS are investigating the case.

Trial Attorneys Jennifer Bilinkas and Tamara Livshiz of the Justice Department’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Mazorol for the District of Idaho are prosecuting the case.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.

An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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