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Oregon judge sentences California developer for coronavirus relief fraud

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(The Center Square) – A California real estate developer received a prison sentence this week for defrauding the federal government by obtaining federal aid for fake businesses supposedly based in Oregon.

Alfred E. Nevis, 53, received a 70-month federal prison sentence and three years of supervised release for using stolen identities to receive over $1.3 million in loans meant to help small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.

Nevis must also pay over $1.3 million in restitution to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and forfeit another $1.3 million to the United States Treasury.

From April 1, 2020, to August 6, 2020, Nevis used the identities of several people he knew – including past and present employees, business partners, and their spouses – to get Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) disbursed by the SBA.

It was one of several relief programs established by the March 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act meant to help employers weather the impact of government-mandated business shutdowns.

Nevis registered straw corporations with these stolen identities, got Employer Identification Numbers (EINs) from the IRS, and submitted loan applications for these newly registered corporations to the SBA.

In one instance, he registered a straw corporation called Isley Farms in Oregon, claimed to employ 12 people, and that the company generated over $725,000 in revenue in a 12-month period ending in January 2020.

In 2020, Nevis submitted at least 22 EIDL applications using stolen identities from at least eight people. He sought about $2.8 million from the SBA and obtained over $1.3 million. He also laundered $160,000 of that $1.3 million.

In May 2022, a federal grand jury in Portland indicted Nevis on wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering charges. He pleaded guilty to these charges on May 2, 2023.

The U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the SBA Office of Inspector General, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Office of Inspector General, and the FBI investigated the case. Ryan W. Bounds, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, prosecuted it.

People can report fraud allegations related to the coronavirus pandemic here.

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