Cincinnati Man Pleads Guilty to COVID Relief Fraud
From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Ohio:
CINCINNATI– A man who filed for relief under the Paycheck Protection Program and fraudulently claimed that he was running a business during the time he was incarcerated pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court today to one count of wire fraud.
Willie Boyce, 41, agreed to pay $41,040 in restitution, in addition to any time he may serve in federal prison.
According to court documents, Boyce was incarcerated in Hamilton County from March 2018 until September 2020, when he was released to a halfway house.
Boyce acknowledged that he applied electronically for two PPP loans in April 2021, claiming he owned a business that provided taxi and ridesharing services.
In his applications, Boyce fraudulently claimed a gross income of $98,500 for 2019 even though he was in prison for the entirety of that year. Boyce used his halfway house address as the business address and submitted a forged bank statement.
Boyce claimed the money was for payroll for his company, and received payments on April 20 and May 5, 2021, but withdrew or spent all the money by the end of May 2021, on non-business-related transactions including payments to Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Expedia, Hampton Inn and Delta Airlines.
Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, announced the guilty plea entered today before Senior U.S. District Judge Susan J. Dlott. The case was investigated by the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, in coordination with U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Secret Service, Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles Investigations and Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ebunoluwa Taiwo is representing the United States in this case.