Florida Nurse Allegedly Lied to Obtain $420K in Coronavirus Relief

An employee at a money changer counts USD 100 bills in Manila on October 25, 2012. AFP PHOTO/NOEL CELIS
AFP PHOTO/NOEL CELIS

A nurse in South Florida fraudulently obtained approximately $420,000 in coronavirus relief money, federal prosecutors allege.

“Giraldo Caraballo, 55, of Miami, made his initial appearance Friday in Miami federal court,” the Associated Press (AP) reported Saturday.

Caraballo is charged with “engaging in transactions in unlawful proceeds and making false statements to a financial institution,” the article continued:

Caraballo applied for and received a Paycheck Protection Program [PPP] loan on behalf of his company, Professional Skills Inc., according to a criminal complaint. He claimed the company had 28 employees and an average monthly payroll of $168,000, which investigators said was untrue. The complaint also alleges that Caraballo applied for and received approximately $55,000 in Economic Injury Disaster Loan. Instead of using the money for payroll, prosecutors said Caraballo transferred the money to other accounts and used it for personal expenses.

Court records posted online did not list a defense attorney who could comment on the case against him.

Caraballo’s arraignment before United States Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Becerra is scheduled to take place in Miami on January 29, Local 10 reported.

“Investigators are asking anyone with information about fraud involving federal aid to call the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 1-866-720-5721,” the outlet said.

In November, seven individuals in two states were charged for allegedly stealing millions of dollars in coronavirus relief funds and using the money for luxury products, federal authorities said.

The suspects in Texas and Illinois were charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, NBC News reported.

“Two suspects, Amir Aqeel, 52, and Siddiq Azeemuddin, 41, were also charged with money laundering. Others named in the indictment were Pardeep Basra, 51; Rifat Bajwa, 51; Mayer Misak, 40; Mauricio Navia, 41; and Richard Reuth,” the article continued:

The Justice Department alleged that the group submitted dozens of fraudulent loan applications that included falsified payroll expenses, tax forms, bank records and other documents.

Hundreds of fake paychecks were cashed by fake employees — including Aqueel’s 86-year-old mother — at a check-cashing business owned by one of the defendants, the indictment alleges.

“The documents say they secured about $16 million before federal agents executed 45 warrants, seizing a 2013 Lamborghini, a Porsche and property in an upscale section of Houston,” the article stated.

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