Pandemic Fraud Prosecutions in NC Up to 50


Federal prosecutors in the respective Western, Middle and Eastern districts of North Carolina have targeted at least 50 individuals responsible for nearly $40 million in COVID-19 relief fraud since the pandemic began in March 2020.

Public statements since the start of the pandemic show 50 individuals, mostly from the state, have been charged or indicted in the Old North State with various forms of COVID-19 relief fraud involving $39,063,648 in taxpayer funds.

The most recent case involves Mooresville’s Steven Andiloro, 51, who faces securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering charges for allegedly scamming $2.6 million in COVID-19 relief funds between April 2020 and March 2021. Prosecutors say Andiloro gained access to the money with fraudulent applications for forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, which prosecutors contend he used to fund his personal lifestyle and prop up a Ponzi-style scheme involving real and fake businesses.

Like many charged before him, Andiloro faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, if convicted.

To date, statements from the U.S. attorneys in the Western, Middle and Eastern districts identify a total more than $4.7 million in restitution in the more than four dozen North Carolina cases, though many are pending sentencing and final judgments. In the releases, most of the resolutions announced did not detail whether courts imposed possible fines of between $250,000 and $1 million.

Of the 50 individuals charged with crimes for stealing from the Paycheck Protection Program, pandemic unemployment insurance and Economic Injury Disaster Loans, at least 17 have been convicted and sentenced to a combined 108 years and nine months in prison.

In the Eastern District, prosecutors have announced more than $22 million in fraud involving 23 individuals. Of those, five have been sentenced to a total 43 years in prison and ordered to pay or forfeit nearly $2.5 million in restitution.

It’s a similar situation in the Western District, where 23 individuals have been charged with frauds totaling more than $13.4 million. Six of the accused have been convicted and sentenced to a total of 37 years, four months in prison and ordered to pay nearly $1.8 million in restitution or monetary judgments. The restitution total includes nearly $270,000 fraud proceeds seized in 2020.

Only four individuals have been identified in the Middle District for COVID-19 fraud, and all have been sentenced. Crimes there involved just over $3.3 million in COVID-19 relief, according to public statements. In total, the four were sentenced to 21 years, nine months in prison and ordered to pay more than $498,000 in restitution.

We thank The Center Square for reprint permission.

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