WILLIAMSPORT – Three Columbia County residents have admitted, in two separate cases, to fraudulently receiving nearly $ 700,000 in COVID-19 supplies.
Darryl Corradini, 63, and Vicki Hackenberg, 57, pleaded guilty to the conspiracy to commit money laundering in the US Middle District Court on Monday.
Hayes D. Horner Jr., 67, of Berwick, followed with a guilty plea for wire fraud.
Plea agreements require Corradini and Hackenberg to refund a total of $ 431,591. Horner is reported to pay $ 158,900 plus $ 100,582 that the government seized after being frozen by a bank.
The two Bloomsburg residents admitted that they used Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds to illegally obtain loans for uses that included the purchase of more than $ 100,000 worth of bitcoins.
As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES), the Payroll Protection Program approves forgeable loans to small businesses that have run into financial difficulties during the pandemic.
Corradini formed a shell company, CGM Realty LLC, in December 2019, which was used to apply for PPP loans. The business address was Hackenberg’s apartment.
The two admitted creating fake documents about CGM’s employment and payroll in order to open business accounts with Bank of America and bitcoin trading firms Athena Bitcoin Inc. and Athena Investor Services in Chicago.
Unindicted co-conspirators were involved in the plan, US Assistant Attorney Phillip A. Carabello said.
Horner admitted that he and unindicted co-conspirators illegally obtained or applied for loans in excess of $ 250,000 through the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.
The program was created to support eligible businesses that have suffered significant financial disruption due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The proceeds could only be used to pay fixed debts, payrolls, liabilities and other bills that could have been paid without the pandemic. They couldn’t be used for lost sales or profits.
The fraudulent loan applications Carabello cited included one on May 27, 2020, on behalf of a Massachusetts resident without his knowledge, and on June 24, 2020, on behalf of a deceased person in Arizona.
On June 30 and July 2, 2020, Horner opened checking accounts with two separate banks on behalf of Horner’s Towing & Recovery, the public prosecutor said.
Upon reviewing the activity related to these two accounts, Carabello identified each bank as being considered suspicious activity refusing a requested transfer.
One was for $ 94,500 in the Bank of China for a recipient in Hong Kong and the other was for $ 70,000 in a Bank of America account, he said.
Each of the three remains free in terms of personal recognition until conviction. According to statements in court, they face at least two years’ imprisonment.
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