DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Florida

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, July 12, 2023
Roger B. Handberg
, United States Attorney

Middle District of Florida Task Force Continues To Combat COVID-19 Fraud

Tampa, FL – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces the results achieved by the Middle District of Florida’s efforts to combat fraud related to COVID-19. Those efforts have included complementary actions by the United States Attorney’s Office’s (USAO-MDFL) Criminal, Asset Recovery, Appellate, and Civil Divisions, along with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.

“The Middle District of Florida United States Attorney’s Office continues to pursue, investigate, prosecute, and recover money from those who were engaged in major or sophisticated fraud schemes designed to steal benefits intended for Americans coping with the myriad impacts of the pandemic,” said U.S. Attorney Roger Handberg.

On the criminal enforcement front, the USAO-MDFL and federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies combined resources in March 2020 to form the Middle District of Florida COVID-19 Fraud Task Force to identify, investigate, and prosecute fraud related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Since its inception, the Task Force has prosecuted 67 defendants for fraud schemes designed to exploit federal programs including the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”), Economic Injury Disaster Loans (“EIDL”), Unemployment Insurance (“UI”), the Main Street Lending Program (“MSLP”), the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (“ERAP”), as well as government Healthcare programs such as Medicare (“HCF”). Collectively, these defendants sought to defraud the United States of over $78 million. Forty-seven of those defendants have been found guilty, while prosecution remains pending against 20 defendants. (See chart below for criminal case details.)

For example, in April 2023, former Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Corrections Officer Deconna Burke was charged with wire fraud relating to an alleged scheme to obtain a PPP loan for a nonexistent babysitting business.

And in June 2023, Timothy and Lisa Jolloff were charged in a scheme relating to EIDL and PPP applications submitted by Timothy Jolloff between April and May 2020. Timothy Jolloff’s false and fraudulent representations caused the SBA and a PPP lender to approve and fund 11 EIDLs and 6 PPP loans, totaling approximately $2.14 million. Timothy Jolloff and his wife, Lisa Jolloff, allegedly used the funds to purchase three pontoon boats, real estate in Indiana, home furnishings, outdoor kitchens for their homes, a 2020 Polaris UTV, as well as jewelry, and two dogs. The couple also fraudulently used more than $600,000 in EIDL funds to purchase a furniture business in Indiana and a landscaping business in Sarasota, which had no connection to the businesses for which the couple had obtained COVID relief funds.

As a result of the USAO-MDFL’s Appellate Division’s advocacy, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the convictions and sentence of Casey David Crowther, who had been found guilty in Ft. Myers of bank fraud, making a false statement to a lending institution, and two counts of money laundering in connection with his PPP loan scheme. Crowther had obtained a $2.1 million PPP loan by stating that he intended to use the money for payroll, rent, and utilities for his company, Target Roofing and Sheet Metal, but, according to the evidence at trial, he instead had his bank deposit the money into a secret account separate from his company’s main operating account. He quickly used the account for personal use, spending nearly $700,000 on a 40-foot pleasure boat and $55,000 on a horse. When Crowther’s bank warned him that he was likely to be audited, he attempted to conceal his fraud by falsely “hiring” family members and dozens of fictitious employees to inflate his company’s apparent payroll.

The U.S. Attorney General has 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. For more information on the department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.

Through the PPP, the federal government authorized over $600 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and certain other expenses through the PPP. The EIDL program provides economic relief to small businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. The MSLP provided support to small and medium-sized businesses and their employees across the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. UI programs provided unemployment benefits to eligible workers who became unemployed through no fault of their own.

The criminal cases charged by the Middle District of Florida COVID-19 Fraud Task Force have been investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Secret Service, Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation, the Department of Labor—Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Postal Service, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the Small Business Administration, the Small Business Administration—Office of Inspector General, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation—Office of Inspector General, Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery, Federal Reserve Board—Office of Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services—Office of Inspector General, the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation, the Tampa Police Department, the Orlando Police Department, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, the Winter Park Police Department, the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys throughout the Middle District of Florida.

The Department of Justice needs the public’s assistance in remaining vigilant and reporting suspected fraudulent activity. To report suspected fraud, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud (“NCDF”) at (866) 720-5721 or file an online complaint at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/webform/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form. Complaints filed will be reviewed at the NCDF and referred to federal, state, local, or international law enforcement or regulatory agencies for investigation.

United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida

COVID Fraud Criminal Cases

Charged Cases

Defendant(s) (Age)

Charge(s)

Max. Imprisonment

Type of Fraud*

Intended Loss

Amount

Tampa Division

Alexander Alli

Wire fraud conspiracy

Maximum Prison Term: 20 Years

EIDL

$80k

Ellyn Pinkney

Wire fraud

Maximum Prison Term: 20 Years

EIDL

$40k

Kieanna Garrett

Wire fraud

Maximum Prison Term: 20 Years

EIDL

$40k

Nicole Bramble-King

Wire fraud

Maximum Prison Term: 20 Years

PPP

$40k

Mehdi Tazi

Conspiracy

Maximum Prison Term: 5 years

Wire fraud

Maximum Prison Term: 20 Years

Aggravated identity theft

Maximum Prison Term: Two Years Consecutive

UI

$1.5M

Modupe Ogundele

Wire fraud

Maximum Prison Term: 20 Years

PPP

$20k

Jalissa McDuffy

Wire fraud

Maximum Prison Term: 20 Years

PPP

$41k

Devontaie Deravil

Aggravated identity theft

Maximum Prison Term: Two Years Consecutive

Access device fraud

Maximum Prison Term: 10 Years

UI

$480k

These COVID Fraud cases from the Tampa Division are being handled by AUSAs Rachel Jones, Tiffany Fields, Greg Pizzo, Candace Rich, and Jennifer Peresie

Orlando Division

Evan Edwards

Joshua Edwards

Conspiracy to commit bank fraud (E. Edwards)

Maximum Prison Term: 30 years

 

Bank fraud (J. Edwards)

Maximum Prison Term: 30 years

Visa fraud (J. Edwards)

Maximum Prison Term: 10 years

False statements (J. Edwards)

Maximum Prison Term: 30 years

PPP

$8M

Emmet Bowens

Wire fraud

Maximum Prison Term: 20 Years

Illegal monetary transactions

Maximum Prison Term: 10 Years

PPP

$740k

Latresia Wilson

False Statements

Maximum Prison Term: 20 Years

HCF

$2.6M

These COVID Fraud cases from the Orlando Division are being handled by AUSAs Kara Wick and Amanda Daniels

Jacksonville Division

Deconna Burke

Wire fraud

Maximum Prison Term: 20 Years

PPP

$20k

Christopher Daragjati

Wire fraud

Maximum Prison Term: 20 Years

Theft of government funds

Maximum Prison Term: 10 Years

Aggravated identity theft

Maximum: Prison Term: Two Years Consecutive

UI

$150k

These COVID Fraud cases from the Jacksonville Division are being handled by AUSA Kevin Frein

Fort Myers Division

Venera Price

Mail fraud

Maximum Prison Term: 20 Years

ERAP

$82k

Ismaelle Manuel

Bank Fraud

Maximum Prison Term: 30 Years

Wire Fraud

Maximum Prison Term: 20 Years

PPP

$280k

Denis Casseus

Bank Fraud

Maximum Prison Term: 30 Years

Wire Fraud

Maximum Prison Term: 20 Years

PPP

$298k

Timothy Jolloff

Wire Fraud

Maximum Prison Term: 20 Years

Money laundering

Maximum Prison Term: 20 Years

Illegal monetary transactions

Maximum Prison Term: 10 Years

PPP/EIDL

$2.1M

Lisa Jolloff

Money laundering

Maximum Prison Term: 20 Years

Illegal monetary transactions

Maximum Prison Term: 10 Years

PPP/EIDL

$2.1M

These COVID Fraud cases from the Fort Myers Division are being handled by AUSA Yolande Viacava and Trent Reichling

Ocala Division

Henry Wade

Wire Fraud

Maximum Prison Term: 20 Years

EIDL

$500k

This COVID Fraud case from the Ocala Division is being handled by AUSA Hannah Nowalk

Adjudicated Cases

Tampa Division

Joseph Abdo

Wire fraud

Maximum Prison Term: 20 Years

Illegal monetary transactions

Maximum Prison Term: 10 Years

PPP

$500k

Alexander Leszczynski

Wire fraud

Maximum Prison Term: 20 Years

Bank fraud

Maximum Prison Term: 30 Years

Illegal monetary transactions

Maximum Prison Term: 10 Years

PPP

$200k

Keaujay Hornsby

Racketeering conspiracy

Maximum Prison Term: 20 Years

Aggravated identity theft

Maximum Prison Term: Two Years Consecutive

Access device fraud

Maximum Prison Term: 10 Years

UI

$3M

Kareem Spann

Racketeering conspiracy

Maximum Prison Term: 20 Years

Aggravated identity theft

Maximum Prison Term: Two Years Consecutive

Access device fraud

Maximum Prison Term: 10 Years

UI

$3M

Marqus Willard Johnson

Bank fraud

Maximum Prison Term: 30 Years

Money laundering

Maximum Prison Term: 20 Years

PPP

$500k

Charles Cunningham

Bank fraud

Maximum Prison Term: 30 years

PPP

$800k

These COVID Fraud cases from the Tampa Division are being handled by AUSAs Rachel Jones, Diego Novaes, Tiffany Fields, Jennifer Peresie, and Greg Pizzo, and DOJ Trial Attorney John Scanlon

Orlando Division

Brian Blake

Possession of device-making equipment

Maximum Prison Term: 15 Years

Access device fraud

Maximum Prison Term: 10 Years

Aggravated identity theft

Maximum: Prison Term: Two Years Consecutive

PPP/UI

$832k

This COVID Fraud case from the Orlando Division is being handled by AUSAs Chauncey Bratt

Jacksonville Division

Desmond Williams

Wire fraud conspiracy

Maximum Prison Term: 20 Years

Wire fraud

Maximum Prison Term: 20 Years

PPP

$40k

Kenneth Landers

Wire Fraud

Maximum Prison Term: 20 Years

Money Laundering

Maximum Prison Term: 30 Years

PPP

$1.4M

These COVID Fraud cases from the Jacksonville Division are being handled by AUSA Kevin Frein and Michael Coolican

Sentenced Cases

Tampa Division

Louis Thornton, III

Wire Fraud

Sentence Imposed: 42 months in federal prison

EIDL/PPP

$815k

Kary Stevenson

Corey Quinn

Conspiracy to commit access device fraud and aggravated identity theft

Sentence Imposed: 5 years, 10 months in federal prison (Stevenson)

Sentence Imposed:7 years in federal prison (Quinn)

UI

$1M

Bridgitte Keim

Bank fraud

Sentence Imposed: 2 years in federal prison

PPP

$588k

Wayne Ganaway

Conspiracy to commit wire fraud

Sentence Imposed: 4 years in federal prison

EIDL

$300k

Eriaius Bentley

Racketeering conspiracy, aggravated identity theft, access device fraud

Sentence Imposed: One year in federal prison

UI

$3M

Rolanda Wingfield

Access device fraud, Aggravated identity theft

Sentenced Imposed: 3 years in federal prison

UI

$135k

Tywon Spann

Racketeering conspiracy, aggravated identity theft, access device fraud

Sentence Imposed: 6 years and 9 months in federal prison

UI

$3M

Randy Jones

Wire fraud, aggravated identity theft

Sentence Imposed: 5 years and 1 month in federal prison

EIDL/UI

$250k

Julio Lugo

Conspiracy to commit money laundering

Sentence Imposed: 7 years and 6 months in federal prison

EIDL/PPP

$4.4M

Keith Nicoletta

Conspiracy to commit money laundering

Sentence Imposed: 24 months in federal prison

PPP

$1.9M

Rosenide Venant

Conspiracy to commit money laundering

Sentence Imposed: 5 years in federal prison

EIDL/PPP

$413k

Melinda Hernandez

Conspiracy to commit wire fraud

Wire fraud and aggravated identity theft

Sentence imposed: Three years and six months in federal prison

UI

$1.5M

Bri’antina Mills

Wire fraud and theft of government funds

Sentence imposed: 15 months in federal prison

 

$10K

Jorge Gutierrez Echeverria

Wire fraud

Sentence imposed: Two years and six months in federal prison

EIDL

$150k

Omar Esquivel Bello

Wire fraud

Sentence imposed: 15 months in federal prison

EIDL

$242k

Steve Moodie

Conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft

Sentence imposed: 5 years and 10 months in federal prison

UI

$1.5M

Richard Simpkins

Conspiracy to commit money laundering

Sentence imposed: 5 years and 10 months in federal prison

PPP

$1.9M

These COVID Fraud cases from the Tampa Division were handled by AUSAs Rachel Jones, Greg Pizzo, Tiffany Fields, Diego Novaes, Jennifer Peresie, and SAUSA Chris Poor

Orlando Division

Daniel Johnson

Conspiracy to commit wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, unlawful transfer of firearm

Sentence Imposed: 7 years, 6 months in federal prison

UI

$2.3M

Jacquavius Smith

Possession of short-barreled rifle; felon in possession of firearm; and aggravated identity theft

Sentence Imposed: 7 years, 1 month in federal prison

PPP

$10k

Johnson Eustache

Wire fraud

Sentence Imposed: 5 years in federal prison

EIDL/PPP

$2.2M

Joseph Harrison

Conspiracy to commit wire fraud

Sentence Imposed: 12 months in federal prison

UI

$2.1M

Tomas Ziupsnys

Conspiracy to commit bank fraud; bank fraud; aggravated identity theft

Sentence Imposed: 5 years in federal prison

PPP

$2M

Holly Urban

Conspiracy to commit bank fraud

Sentence Imposed: 30 months in federal prison

PPP

$1.5M

Joel Greenberg

Conspiracy to commit wire fraud and other offenses while on pretrial release

Sentence Imposed: 11 years in federal prison

EIDL

$430k

Don Cisternino

           

Wire fraud, illegal monetary transactions, and aggravated identity theft

Sentence Imposed: 8 years and 6 months in federal prison

PPP

$7.2M

Keith Ingersoll          

Conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft

Sentence imposed: 9 years, 1 month in federal prison.  

EIDL

$66k

Jaheim Davis

Access device fraud and aggravated identity theft

Sentence imposed: 3 years, 6 months in federal prison.  

UI

$219k

Teresa McIntyre

Conspiracy to commit wire fraud and other offenses

Sentence Imposed: 5 years’ probation

EIDL

$730k

These COVID Fraud cases from the Orlando Division were handled by AUSAs John Gardella, Amanda Daniels, Chauncey Bratt, Emily Chang, Shannon Laurie, and Jennifer Harrington, and U.S. Attorney Roger Handberg

Jacksonville Division

Jacob Byrd

Wire fraud

Sentence Imposed: probation

PPP

$10k

This COVID Fraud case from the Jacksonville Division was handled by AUSA Kevin Frein

Fort Myers Division

Casey Crowther

Bank fraud, false statement to a financial institution, illegal monetary transaction

Sentence Imposed: 3 years, 1 month in federal prison

PPP

$2.7M

Anthony Bruey

Amber Bruey

Conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, illegal monetary transactions

Sentence Imposed:

Anthony Bruey: 4 years, 3 months in federal prison

Amber Bruey: 4 years in federal prison

PPP/EIDL

$881k

Edrica Leann Watson

False statement to a lending institution

Sentence Imposed: 15 months in federal prison

PPP

$392k

Daniel Joseph Tisone

Wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, aggravated identity theft, possession of ammunition by a prohibited person

Sentence Imposed: 7 years in federal prison

PPP/EIDL/MSLP

$10.7M

Liliana Gonzalez

Wire fraud

Sentence Imposed:  5 years of probation with 18 months of home confinement

PPP

$169k

Al Clint LaRoche

Bank fraud

Sentence Imposed: Two years in federal prison

PPP

$1M

These COVID Fraud cases from the Fort Myers Division were handled by AUSAs Trent Reichling, Michael Leeman, and Jesus M. Casas

Ocala Division

Lavelle Harris

Wire Fraud

Sentence Imposed: Two years and three months in federal prison

PPP

$1.2M

This COVID Fraud case from the Ocala Division was handled by AUSA Hannah Nowalk

Types of Fraud*

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

Unemployment Insurance (UI)

Main Street Lending Program (MSLP)

Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)

Health Care Fraud (HCF)

Tampa Field Division