clipboard with loan application on it

A Florida man is facing the potential of more than 30 years in prison after being indicted for COVID-19 relief fraud for allegedly using the identities of senior living residents to obtain more than $1.5 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans.

Jeremie Saintvil of Delray Beach, FL, on Tuesday was charged with bank fraud, making false statements to a federally insured institution, aggravated identity theft and making false statements, according to the Department of Justice. 

He allegedly stole the identities of eight older adults — one relative and seven senior living residents — as part of a scheme to obtain forgivable loans between Feb. 1, 2018, and June 30, 2020, according to Jason R. Coody, acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida. 

Saintvil is accused of submitting nine fraudulent PPP loan applications to nine different federally insured credit unions and banks on behalf of businesses that did not exist, according to the indictment filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, Gainesville Division. 

Those businesses included HEJ Holding, Root Capital, Verb World, Kramer Corp., Martin Consulting, Doherty and Associate, McCartney and Associates, and RMC Acceptance. Saintvil listed senior living residents as the CEOs of these fraudulent companies. 

Another company, Recovery and Empowerment for Family and Youth Services Center, was registered to do business in Florida but had not filed any federal income tax returns since 2016 and did not use a third-party payroll service. A relative was an owner and director at the company.

The PPP was intended to give qualifying small businesses loans to pay for payroll costs and interest on mortgages, rent and utilities. The program forgives interest and principal if businesses use the loans on qualifying expenses within a set time period.

Saintvil is accused of falsifying his identity on eight applications, misrepresenting the number of employees and payroll expenses at those nonexistent companies, and making numerous other inaccurate statements. He also allegedly submitted falsified tax documents and bank account information to support those applications.

In addition, Saintvil allegedly opened bank accounts and lines of credit at financial institutions and credit card companies in the names of his elderly victims. He reportedly used physical checks, debit cards and credit cards in the names of those older adults, and he reportedly used the services of an electronic payments processor to transfer funds from the fraudulently obtained lines of credit into the fraudulent bank accounts.

The federal government is seeking forfeiture of property derived from the scheme, including electronics, as well as a monetary judgment equal to the value of any property derived from the scheme.  

If convicted, Saintvil faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison on the bank fraud and making false statements to a federally insured institution charges and a maximum five-year penalty for the charge of making a false statement. He faces an additional two-year mandatory minimum sentence, consecutive to any other imposed sentence, for the aggravated identity theft count.

The Internal Revenue Service–Criminal Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Small Business Administration–Office of Inspector General conducted a joint investigation resulting in the indictment.