Former Miami Police Department Employees Plead Guilty for Deceptive COVID-19 Relief Loan Applications

Former Miami Police Department Employees Plead Guilty | Credits: Google images
Former Miami Police Department Employees Plead Guilty | Credits: Google images

United States: COVID-19 relief fraud has taken a turn, and authorities have arrested two former employees of the Miami Police Department. Both face lengthy prison sentences, according to preliminary information from the authorities.

The two ex-employees who were pled guilty were 38-year-old Sheana Haslem and 35-year-old Keandra Carter, according to NBC Miami.

Haslem entered a plea guilty on March 6 for wire fraud related to her deceitful submissions for a Paycheck Protection Program loan and an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance, as detailed in a press release issued by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida on Tuesday.

At the time, Haslem served as a staffing specialist for the Miami Police Department.

Prosecutors revealed that in July 2020, while Haslem was in full-time employment with the MPD, she, in collaboration with an associate, submitted a deceptive EIDL application to the US Small Business Administration.

The application falsely asserted that Haslem functioned as an independent contractor and owned a business encompassing a hair and nail salon with 15 employees, boasting nearly $90,000 in gross revenues, according to prosecutors.

Resulting of this fraudulent application, Haslem received a USD 10,000 EIDL advance, authorities disclosed.

In February 2021, Haslem filed a deceitful PPP loan application, asserting her status as an independent contractor managing a business with an average monthly payroll of USD 8,333, as outlined by prosecutors.

Furthermore, Haslem submitted a deceptive IRS form claiming ownership of a security officer business, declaring a gross income of USD 102,874, securing a USD 20,832 PPP loan, according to authorities.

Haslem is now confronted with the potential of a maximum 20-year prison sentence, with the sentencing scheduled for May 28.

Another former Miami Police Department employee, 35-year-old Keandra Carter, has also pleaded guilty to wire fraud in connection with a misleading PPP loan application, officials reported, as per NBC Miami.

Carter, previously a public service aide for the MPD, submitted an application asserting ownership of a “hair braider” business with a reported gross income of USD 1.1 million in 2019, prosecutors stated.

Officials confirmed that due to the fabricated and deceitful application, Carter acquired a USD 20,833 PPP loan.

Carter, too, faces the possibility of a 20-year prison sentence, with the sentencing scheduled for May 2.

Stimulating the local economy is the main objective of the Paycheck Protection Program, designated for the small businesses that are in need of as much as tens of billions of loanable money among the Americans struggling with the hardships of COVID-19, the reports by NBC Miami claimed.

However, the allocated funds are supposed to be used by business owners only to pay their employees, support mortgage lenders, and cover the rent of business premises and utilities. It was a strong and substantial component of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which became law in the COVID-19 Relief Act of 2020.