New York Brothers Charged With COVID-Relief Fraud

Accused Of Attempting To Steal Nearly $7 Million In Funds

Keith Griffin

September 17, 2020

Judge's gavel

The criminal charges continue to mount against people who attempted to defraud the Paycheck Protection Program instituted by the Small Business Administration in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down the country’s economy.

Two upstate New York brothers were charged in a criminal complaint for their alleged participation in a scheme to file fraudulent loan applications seeking nearly $7 million in forgivable PPP loans guaranteed by the SBA under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York.

Larry Jordan, 42, Lancaster, New York, and Sutukh El, aka Curtis Jordan and Hugo Hurt, 38, of Buffalo, New York, were charged in a complaint filed in the Western District of New York with wire fraud conspiracy.

The complaint alleges that Jordan and El conspired to, and did, submit at least eight fraudulent loan applications in an attempt to obtain nearly $7 million. The complaint also alleges that, in support of the fraudulent loan applications, Jordan and El made numerous false and misleading statements about the companies’ respective business operations and payroll expenses.

The complaint further alleges that the fraudulent loan applications were supported by fake documents, including falsified federal tax filings. For example, included in one application for 5 Stems Inc. was a fraudulent IRS filing that appeared to be the company’s 2019 federal unemployment tax return showing that the company paid nearly $3.3 million in employee wages that year. In reality, the IRS has no record of such a filing.

The complaint further alleges that Jordan and El used fraudulently obtained loan proceeds on what appear to be personal expenses, including the purchase of securities, home improvements, and a vehicle. To date, the government has seized more than $400,000 of the more than $600,000 that Jordan and El obtained in their alleged fraud.

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form.

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