Fifth defendant pleads guilty to conspiring to fraudulently obtain over $30m in Covid relief loans | USAO-SDNY
Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, today announced that ALVIN MAXWELL has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with a scheme to fraudulently obtain more than $30 million in government-backed loans intended to provide relief to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. MAXWELL is the fifth defendant to plead guilty in this case. Four other defendants—APOCALYPSE BELLA, aka “Dias Yumba,” MACKENZY TOUSSAINT, aka “Mack,” BRANDON JACKSON, and AMOS MUNDENDI, aka “Mos,” aka “El Ashile Mundi” pleaded guilty earlier this year. TOUSSAINT, JACKSON and MUNDENDI each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on March 8, March 30 and April 4, 2022, respectively. BELLA pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering conspiracy on March 21, 2022. All defendants pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer.
According to the allegations contained in the Complaints, Indictments and Substitute Information, filed in the case:
APOCALYPSE BELLA, alias “Dias Yumba”, MACKENZY TOUSSAINT, alias “Mack”, AMOS MUNDENDI, alias “Mos”, alias “El Ashile Mundi” and ALVIN MAXWELL, were involved in a vast scheme to prepare and submit applications to the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) and to at least one company that processes loan applications under the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”), in order to fraudulently obtain at least approximately $30 million in government-backed loans for various businesses through the PPP, designed to provide financial relief to eligible businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This scheme resulted in the approval of fraudulently obtained loans for two companies (“Company-1” and “Company-2”), both located in the Southern District of New York, totaling approximately $4 million of dollars, and distributing the proceeds of such fraudulently obtained funds to a series of bank accounts located in the United States and elsewhere, including bank accounts controlled by TOUSSAINT and BELLA.
The PPP loan applications for Company-1 and Company-2 were bogus, containing lies intended to maximize the proceeds paid to participants in the fraudulent scheme. Specifically, the applications for Company-1 and Company-2 had significant differences from the loan applications submitted for both companies under the Economic Disaster Lending (“EIDL”) program a few months ago. earlier. For example, the PPP loan application for company-1, dated on or about June 30, 2020, indicated that company-1 had more than 100 employees. However, an earlier EIDL loan application for Company-1, dated on or about March 30, 2020, indicated that Company-1 had only four employees.
BELLA, TOUSSAINT and MUNDENDI conceived and executed this fraudulent scheme by conspiring with individuals who owned, operated or were otherwise affiliated with companies, such as Company-1 and Company-2.
In addition, TOUSSAINT and JACKSON engaged in a scheme to submit fraudulent Economic Disaster Loan (“EIDL”) applications, often using synthetic identities (i.e. a false name used in combination with real personal identification information of another person). JACKSON and TOUSSAINT frequently used social security numbers belonging to minors as part of the synthetic identities created for use in the fraudulent scheme. At least around $1.7 million in EIDL loan funds have been disbursed as a result of this fraudulent scheme.
* * *
TOUSSAINT, MUNDENDI, MAXWELL and JACKSON, all residents of Texas, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. BELLA, an Oregon resident, pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.
BELLA is due for sentencing at 10:30 am on July 7, 2022. TOUSSAINT is due for sentencing at 10:30 am on June 16, 2022. JACKSON is due for sentencing at 11:00 am on August 17, 2022 MAXWELL is due for sentencing at 11:00 am on September 8, 2022. MUNDENDI is due for sentencing at 11:00 am on September 9, 2022. Each of the defendants will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer. .
Mr. Williams praised the remarkable work of the FBI, the SBA-OIG and the IRS-CI.
The case is being handled by the Bureau’s Complex Fraud and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant US Attorney Dina McLeod is in charge of the prosecution.