COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) – Four people have been charged in the District of South Carolina for their roles in a multi-million dollar coronavirus aid fraud scheme involving nearly one hundred people from across the nation, the United States Department of Justice said.
The four charged are as follows:
- Jacob Liticker (aka “Jay Stunna”), 25, of Houston, Texas
- Kehinde Mubarak Ladepo, 26, member of the U.S. Air Force stationed at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, S.C.
- Ganiyu Victor Ladepo (aka “Victor”), 29, of Fayeteville, N.C.
- Maxwell Uzoma Okobi (aka “Maxi”), 24, of N.C.
An indictment alleges that the four were a part of a scheme led by Liticker in which they attempted to steal $2 million in PPP loans, and successfully acquired almost $1 million.
PPP loans were designed to provide financial aid to struggling businesses during the height of the pandemic.
The indictment states that Liticker created fraudulent applications for nearly one hundred people across the nation, most seeking $20,000, and “would assist those individuals in submitting this false information to Small Business Administration-approved lenders.” This also involved creating fake tax documents.
In exchange for his services Liticker would take a portion of the PPP loan, the DOJ said.
The indictment also states that Okobi and Ganiyu Ladepo had received fraudulent PPP loans by overstating income and claiming non-existent businesses, and further enlisted the help of Liticker in aiding Kehinde Ladepo with a false application.
Kehinde Ladepo appeared in federal court in Columbia, S.C. on a summons. Liticker was arrested in Texas, Okobi in Maryland, and Ganiyu Ladepo in North Carolina. All were granted bond.
They face a maximum of 20 years in federal prison if convicted.
“PPP loans were finite funds designed to help businesses stay afloat amid unprecedented times and extraordinary challenges,” said U.S. Attorney Adair F. Boroughs. “Every dollar wrongly taken from this taxpayer-funded program was a dollar that could not go to a legitimate business in need. This Office takes pandemic-related crime seriously and stands ready [to] prosecute fraud related to the Coronavirus in all its forms. This case highlights those efforts.”
The chart below, provided by the Department of Justice, outlines the scope of the scheme.
CARES Act Fraud Investigation (Courtesy: U.S. Department of Justice)
The Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the U.S. Secret Service and the Small Business Administration’s Office of Inspector General investigated.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Derek A. Shoemake, who also serves as the Office’s Coronavirus Fraud Coordinator, and Winston Marosek.