SAVANNAH, Georgia (WJBF) – One Hephzibah man is among five people who will face federal charges including bank and wire fraud for allegedly using false information to secure thousands of dollars in COVID-19 relief funds.
According to authorities, the charges came through indictments and informants, and those charges accuse the defendants of applying for Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding by using false financial information.
David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, says the charges carry statutory penalties upon conviction of up to 30 years in prison, along with fines of up to $250,000 and a period of supervised release after completion of any prison term.
According to Estes, Cameron Mills, 30, of Hephzibah, Georgia, has been charged with Bank Fraud, False Statement on a Loan Application, and Wire Fraud, which are related to applications that enabled him to secure a PPP loan.
The other charges in the Southern District include:
- Brandon Lamar Williams, a/k/a “NH Skilo,” 30, of Savannah, charged in a second superseding federal indictment with two counts of Wire Fraud related to fraudulent applications for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. Williams also is charged in seven other counts with drug and firearm charges that carry penalties of up to life in prison.
- Jennai Mance, 34, of Fort Stewart, Georgia, charged and pled guilty to Wire Fraud, related to a PPP application.
- Matthew Patsches, 24, of Hudson, Florida, pled guilty to an information charging him with Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, related to two April 2021 applications for PPP loans.
- Willie Craft, 28, of Round Rock, Texas, charged with Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, related to a PPP application and Economic Injury Disaster Loan application.
Authorities say that the fraudulent loan applications in these cases combined to cause lenders to pay more than $130,000 to the defendants as alleged in the charges.
“CARES Act funding provided a valuable safety net for small businesses that struggled financially during the worst of the global pandemic,” says U.S. Attorney Estes. “With our law enforcement partners, we will continue to identify and hold accountable those who would attempt to exploit these public assistance programs for their own personal enrichment.”
According to authorities, the cases are being investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Savannah Police Department, and prosecuted for the United States by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia.