Maryland Man Sentenced for PPP Fraud Scheme

Reginald Hopkins faced 18 to 41 months in prison for the scheme.

Hopkins spent the loans on kickbacks to a co-conspirator, providing funds to friends, family members and associates, making large cash withdrawals and paying off personal debts.

Reginald Alphonso Hopkins, 52, of Prince George's County in Maryland, was sentenced to two years in federal prison for defrauding more than $1 million in COVID-19 relief funds, and applying for another $3.1 million. Hopkins pleaded guilty to the scheme in September, and was sentenced Jan. 10 by U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett.

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 District of Maryland Strike Force, part of a nationwide initiative to prosecute COVID-19 fraud, helped with the investigation. U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the FBI's work in the investigation, and thanked the Baltimore County Police Department and the SBA Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Riley prosecuted the case, with assistance from Maryland COVID-19 Strike Force Paralegal Specialist Joanna Huber.

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