SAVANNAH, Ga (WJBF) – A man has been indicted on multiple charges alleging his involvement as the leader in a conspiracy to fraudulently obtain federal COVID-19 pandemic relief funding.
Bernard Okojie, 40, was accused of faking businesses and laundering money.
According to authorities, Okojie has been charged in a newly unsealed indictment with Conspiracy to Commit Wire and Bank Fraud, Wire Fraud, and Money Laundering Conspiracy.
According to David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, the charges carry statutory penalties of up to 30 years in prison, along with up to $1 million in financial penalties and up to five years of supervised release after completion of any prison term.
According to the indictment, Okojie is alleged to have used information for non-existent companies to file fraudulent applications for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) for himself and others from May 2020 through January 2021, seeking millions of dollars in COVID-19 relief funds for himself and others.
Authorities say that Okojie allegedly either received the funding directly or was paid by other recipients of the fraudulently obtained funding for his work in submitting the EIDL applications.
Authorities also say that Okojie is further charged with conspiring to launder the fraudulent proceeds.