Area man charged in $1.9M PPP loan scam, bought $100K Mercedes | Business Observer

DADE CITY A Pasco County resident has been charged with fraud for misusing federal PPP mortgage cash, together with allegations he spent greater than $170,000 on a brand new Mercedes and Ford F-250 truck.

Keith William Nicoletta, 48, of Dade Metropolis, was charged with financial institution fraud and unlawful financial transactions, based on a launch from the U.S. Lawyers workplace in Tampa. In keeping with the unsealing of a felony criticism in opposition to Nicoletta, in or about Could, Nicoletta fraudulently secured greater than $1.9 million in emergency funds related to the Paycheck Safety Program. This system, which Congress licensed in April, permits qualifying small companies and different organizations to obtain loans with a maturity of two years and an rate of interest of 1%. By way of the SBA, PPP mortgage guidelines stipulate that the funds have for use for payroll prices, curiosity on mortgages, hire and utilities

Nicolettas PPP mortgage software, authorities allege, falsely claimed Nicoletta had an area scrap metallic enterprise with 69 workers whose purported month-to-month payroll bills exceeded $760,000 greater than $9 million yearly. In fact, officers say Nicoletta had reported no wages to the State of Florida for any workers for 2019 or 2020.

As soon as the emergency mortgage was secured, Nicoletta didn’t use the PPP funds for certified bills, the discharge states. As an alternative, he instantly laundered the cash, transferring it between numerous accounts at completely different monetary establishments. He additionally withdrew over $100,000 in money. Nicoletta then bought a 2020 Mercedes for greater than $106,000 and a 2020 particular version Ford F-250 pickup valued at over $66,000. He additionally wired roughly $537,000 to a property administration firm in south Florida. Not one of the cash was used for payroll.

If convicted, Nicoletta faces a most penalty of 40 years in federal jail. The FBI and the Inner Income Service Prison Investigation, Tampa Subject Workplace investigated the case.

Nicoletta is no less than the second particular person within the area federal authorities have charged with allegedly falsely utilizing PPP mortgage funds. In early September,Target Roofing & Sheet Metal Inc. President Casey David Crowther, of Fort Myers, was charged with utilizing federal coronavirus aid funds for private use, together with shopping for a 40-foot boat for practically $700,000. Crowther utilized for and obtained a mortgage of $2,098,700 below the federal Payroll Safety Program, based on that cases felony criticism.

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