NEWARK, NJ – A man in Maryland was arrested today for fraudulently obtaining more than $ 500,000 in COVID-19 relief funds, Acting Prosecutor Rachael A. Honig said.
Mohamed Kamara, 40, of Greenbelt, Md., Is charged with wire fraud. He is scheduled to appear by video conference this afternoon before US trial judge Timothy J. Sullivan in federal court in Maryland.
According to the documents filed in this case and the statements made in court:
The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) is a federal law designed to provide emergency financial assistance to Americans suffering from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act allows the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide funding through the COVID-19 Economic Disaster Loan (EIDL) program to business owners adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unemployment Insurance (UI) is a joint state / federal program that provides Unemployment Insurance Benefits (UIB) to eligible workers who were unemployed without their being responsible.
Between April 2020 and June 2020, six EIDL applications were filed with the SBA. Representatives from some of the companies whose names were used to make the requests said their companies did not make the request. In response to requests, the SBA provided EIDLs with a collective value of over $ 500,000. Kamara has received or attempted to receive funds under each of the EIDLs.
From January 1, 2020 to September 7, 2020, an IP address associated with Kamara’s address was used to submit approximately 50 New Jersey UIB requests for 42 people. This led the New Jersey Department of Labor (NJDOL) to authorize benefits of around $ 163,000. The IP address has also been used to access many accounts that have received funds as a result of UIB requests submitted to NJDOL from other IP addresses. These accounts received approximately $ 34,000 in UIBs.
The wire fraud charge carries a potential maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000, double the gross profits or double the gross loss suffered by the victims of its offense, whichever is greater.
Acting US Attorney Honig credited the special agents of the FBI, under the direction of the special agent in charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, and the special agents of the US Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent at Charge Michael C. Mikulka in New York, with the investigation leading to today’s arrest. She also thanked the FBI field office in Baltimore; the Small Business Administration and the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant US Attorney Andrew Kogan of the Cybercrime Unit of the US Attorney’s Office in Newark.
The charge and the allegations contained in the complaint are only charges and the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty.