Long Island City man charged with $ 1.7 million PPP fraud: Feds – QNS.com
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A Long Island City man has been charged with using an apartment in Queensbridge Houses as part of his scheme to defraud the federal government, according to the US attorney’s office.
Gelpys Joel Peralta-Gutierrez, 31, was charged Monday with a wire fraud conspiracy over a fraudulent loan application under the US Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, which Congress created as part of of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
Peralta-Gutierrez was previously arrested in February on a criminal complaint and will be brought to justice at a later date, authorities said.
“As alleged, Peralta-Gutierrez falsely claimed he needed government loan benefits to pay his employees during the pandemic, but deliberately lined his own pockets with $ 1.7 million,” the prosecutor said Acting American Mark J. Lesko. “This office will not hesitate to enforce the full weight of the law against those who for personal gain profit from the COVID crisis and illegally divert funds from vital government aid programs.”
As noted in court records, in June 2020, Peralta-Gutierrez arranged for a PPP loan application to be submitted on behalf of his company, J Films HD Inc., claiming he employed 62 workers with a payroll monthly total of nearly $ 700,000. Based on these statements, Peralta-Gutierrez’s company obtained a loan of more than $ 1.7 million.
The location that Peralta-Gutierrez presented as his business address, however, was an NYCHA apartment at the Queensbridge Houses. In Peralta-Gutierrez’s claims for other business assistance measures, he acknowledged that in reality his business only had one employee and total revenues of around $ 50,000.
“Peralta, as it is claimed, took advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program, which was created to provide emergency financial assistance to businesses in need during the pandemic,” the FBI Deputy Director said, William F. Sweeney Jr .. “While claiming to have 62 employees on his payroll, he received $ 1.7 million in taxpayer funded relief to support his claims. According to other business aid applications he filed, however, he only had one employee. The FBI will continue to aggressively pursue those who use the money from this economic relief program to line their pockets. If you know of any similar cases of fraud, please call us at 1-800-CALL-FBI.
If convicted, Peralta-Gutierrez faces up to 20 years in prison.
“Lying to gain access to economic stimulus funds will be judged with justice,” said Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite, special agent in charge of the Office of Inspector General of the US Small Business Administration, Eastern Region Office. “The SBA-OIG will aggressively pursue evidence of fraud against SBA programs aimed at helping small businesses across the country grappling with the challenges of the pandemic. I want to thank the United States Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners for their dedication and pursuit of justice. “