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Florida Tax Preparer Charged In Pennsylvania For Connection To $7 Million Loan Fraud Scheme

A Florida tax preparer was charged in an indictment filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania with scheming to fraudulently obtain more than $7 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), and pre-pandemic Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, and to launder the proceeds of the illegal scheme.

The indictment alleges that beginning in or around January 2018, Barrie J. Osborne, 76, of Celebration, conspired with at least eight California-based individuals to apply for SBA, PPP, and EIDL loans on behalf of their respective businesses that were dormant companies or companies with limited business operations.

In exchange for fees, Osborne made the businesses appear to be functioning companies with operations and employees by creating fake documents, including fake bank statements and fictitious tax documents. Osborne also provided a “script” to scheme participants to use in calls with lenders.

Osborne and the California co-conspirators allegedly obtained over $7.3 million in PPP, EIDL, and SBA loans. 

The indictment further alleges that Osborne created “forgiveness plans” that directed the co-conspirators to transfer the fraud proceeds as purported payroll expenses for each of the companies that obtained PPP funds, including one of his own companies.

These so-called “forgiveness plans” were designed to disguise the proceeds as payroll expenses and make it appear that the loan recipient was meeting the SBA requirement that a percentage of the PPP funds be used for payroll, thus increasing the likelihood that the loan recipient would qualify for loan forgiveness.

Osborne is charged with conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

This case was investigated by the SBA-OIG, IRS-CI, HSI’s Philadelphia Field Office, and the FBI’s Philadelphia Field Office. 

Trial Attorneys David A. Stier and Patrick B. Gushue of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Judy G. Smith of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania are prosecuting the case.

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