Glenroy Walker, 65, of New Rochelle, Gary Wheeler, 46, of Mount Vernon, Sherril Baez, 50, of Freeport, and three others were charged with plotting to steal more than $14 million from the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), New York, United States The Southern District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday, June 6.

Administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the PPP was created by Congress to provide billions of dollars in forgivable loans to small businesses struggling to pay their workers and other expenses during the height of the pandemic.

Between July 2020 and February 2022, Walker and Bronx resident Howard Levy, 60, led a scheme to submit false loan applications to the PPP, according to federal officials.

The men allegedly submitted more than 100 such bogus applications to various financial institutions as part of the scheme, often containing false bank statements and tax documents.

Along with Walker and Levy, Wheeler would also take part in the scheme by filing false applications for businesses he purports to recruit and recruiting others to participate in the scheme, federal officials said.

Along with Walker, Levy, Baez, and Wheeler, the following individuals were also charged in connection with filing false applications:

  • Bronx resident Norma Gettin, 62;
  • Donnat Powell, 48, of Paterson, New Jersey.

As a result of the scheme, Walker and Levy would receive substantial kickbacks from other participants, some of which they would share with recruiters, including some of the other defendants.

In total, fraudulent applications submitted by all six defendants to the PPP sought more than $14.7 million in loans and resulted in more than $4.6 million in payments from various financial institutions. All disbursement funds are guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The six defendants are each charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.

In addition, Walker and Levy were also charged with one count of aggravated identity theft and will be sentenced to two consecutive years in prison.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said all six defendants took advantage of a scheme designed to help people.

“As alleged, the defendants planned to steal millions of dollars from a program created by Congress to help struggling small businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said, adding, “ As we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, this office will track down and prosecute fraudsters who exploit the global emergency to greedily enrich themselves.”

Follow Daily Voice Nassau and receive free news updates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *