Thursday, 20 January 2022 09:26

St. Petersburg, FL, Man Sentenced to Prison for COVID-19 Program Fraud

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U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew sentenced Louis Thornton III, 63, of St. Petersburg, FL, to three years and six months in federal prison for fraudulently obtaining money through various COVID-19 relief programs, including the Small Business Administration's PPP and EIDL programs.

As part of his sentence, the court also entered a money judgment in the amount of $814,632.50, the proceeds of the wire fraud scheme.


Thornton pleaded guilty Sept. 13, 2021.


According to court documents, from April through July 2020, Thornton submitted fraudulent applications for EIDL and PPP loans through the SBA’s online EIDL portal on behalf of several defunct companies. Thornton’s applications fraudulently claimed, among other material misrepresentations, that these companies were operational and had suffered economic injury due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Based on the false and fraudulent representations Thornton made, he obtained a total of $814,632.50 in EIDL and PPP loans to which he was not entitled.


Thornton used the money obtained through the SBA’s EIDL and PPP programs to invest in stocks, futures and commodities.


This case was investigated by FBI. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachel K. Jones.


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.


Source: U.S. Department of Justice


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