Maryland Man Pleads Guilty to PPP Loan Fraud
Written by Autobody News Staff
Published Sept. 27, 2023
Reginald Alphonso Hopkins, 52, of Prince George's County, MD, pleaded guilty Sept. 27 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, after receiving $1 million in fraudulent PPP funds and applying to get $3.1 million more.
If the plea agreement is accepted by the court, Hopkins will be sentenced to between 18 months and 41 months in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 10, 2024.
Between June 2020 and March 2021, a co-conspirator submitted fraudulent PPP loan applications for Prestige Executive Transportation, Prestige 24/7 Auto Sales & Services LLC and Prestige Assisted Living Inc., all owned by Hopkins.
The applications falsely claimed the companies in 2019 had a combined 54 employees who were paid a total of nearly $5 million.
Based on the fraudulent submissions, nearly $1 million in three separate PPP loans was funded. Hopkins gave the co-conspirator a total of $177,000 in kickback payments.
Prestige Assisted Living did not obtain a license to operate as an assisted living facility until Dec. 18, 2020. It was authorized to have four beds. Moreover, even after it obtained its license, Prestige Assisted Living never paid wages to any employee.
A bank account statement for the assisted living facility was also fabricated, showing a beginning and ending balance of $123,500---when in fact the balances were negative $3.50 and negative $17.50, respectively.
Hopkins spent the loans on kickbacks to the co-conspirator, providing funds to friends, family members and associates, making large cash withdrawals and paying off personal debts.
Hopkins also used $30,000 of the PPP funds to purchase an auto body repair shop, B&G Auto Repair LLC. He planned to seek a fraudulent loan for this entity as well.
In March 2021, another fraudulent loan application was submitted for Prestige Executive Protection Services, LLC, another business owned by Hopkins, seeking $250,000, but it was declined.
Hopkins and his co-conspirator tried to get loans for various other purported businesses, including Prestige Paradise Promotions, LLC, Prestige Executive Protection Services II, LLC, Prestige Real Estate & Development, LLC, and B&G Auto Repair LLC, but the loans never closed.
Hopkins also caused to be submitted numerous fraudulent EIDL applications between April and July 2020. The loans were declined, but Hopkins received two advances totaling $9,000.
The guilty plea was announced by Erek L. Barron, U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland and Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office.
Barron commended the FBI for their work in the investigation and thanked the Baltimore County Police Department and the U.S. Small Business Administration-Office of Inspector General. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Riley, who is prosecuting the federal case. Barron also recognized the assistance of the Maryland COVID-19 Strike Force Paralegal Specialist Joanna Huber.