VALDOSTA, Ga. – A Georgia man pleaded guilty to money laundering after he filed for PPP loans amounting to more than $2.6 million under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Anthony J. Boncimino, 47, of Sycamore, Georgia, pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering before U.S. District Judge Louis Sands in Valdosta on Nov.8. Boncimino faces a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 24, 2022. There is no parole in the federal system.
“Those who fraudulently capitalized during the global pandemic will be brought to justice for their crimes,” said Peter D. Leary, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. “Investigators are working to hold CARES Act fraudsters accountable; our office will pursue federal prosecution when warranted.”
“Greed has no place in SBA’s programs that are intended to provide assistance to the nation’s small businesses struggling with the pandemic challenges,” said SBA OIG’s Eastern Region Special Agent in Charge Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite. “Fraudsters attempting to gain access to economic stimulus funds will be met with justice. I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners for their dedication and pursuit of justice.”
"The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration aggressively pursues those who endeavor to defraud programs afforded to the American people under the CARES Act," said J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. "We appreciate the efforts of the Department of Justice and our law enforcement partners in this effort."
“While businesses were suffering and trying their best to make it through the pandemic, others chose greed. IRS-CI will continue to use its financial expertise to track and recommend prosecution of criminals taking advantage of a crisis,” said James E. Dorsey, Special Agent in Charge IRS-Criminal Investigation.
According to court documents, Boncimino admitted that he knowingly created two fictitious companies in order to obtain PPP loans fraudulently and obtained PPP loans for his moving business by falsifying payroll information. In all, Boncimino collected $2,671,871.74 in four PPP loans from three lender banks using fraud. Boncimino created fake IRS forms for his fictious companies and submitted these and other fraudulent records to the lender banks and the SBA. Boncimino used the money to pay for state and federal taxes; he told investigators he wanted a safety net for his family and his moving business.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
Small Business Administration-OIG Eastern Region, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and IRS-Criminal Investigation investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Crane is prosecuting the case.