Miami, Florida – The Department of Justice today reported a Miami-Dade resident Elisa Rivera,50, pled guilty before Senior U.S. District Judge Donald L. Graham to a felony Information charging her with conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with a scheme to file fraudulent applications to the U.S. Small Business Administration to COVID-19 relief advance grants and low-interest COVID-19 relief loans.
According to a press release by the Department of Justice, the facts admitted at the change of plea, Elisa Rivera, during 2019 and 2020, was employed on a full-time basis by the Miami-Dade Police Department (“MDPD”) as an Administrative Officer.
The Department of Justice issued the following statement regarding the charges:
As an MDPD employee, Rivera suffered no loss of salary due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, on July 3, 2020, Rivera authorized a co-conspirator (identified as “Individual 1” in the Information) to electronically submit an EIDL application on her behalf stating that Rivera was the 100% owner of a for-profit business operating under the name “Elisa Rivera.” That application falsely and fraudulently certified that the business named “Elisa Rivera” was established on or about March 1, 2017, and that during the twelve (12) month period prior to January 31, 2020, that business had gross revenues of $325,446 and twelve (12) employees.
In reality, the defendant did not own any business, was not an independent contractor, and had no business gross revenues or employees.After having Individual 1 submit the fraudulent EIDL application on her behalf, Rivera offered to, and did, submit fraudulent EIDL applications to the SBA on behalf of a limited group of other individuals (referred to as “the Applicants” in the Information) who also did not own small businesses and did not qualify for EIDL relief.
These applications contained false representations as to the existence of their small businesses, their gross revenues, and the number of employees each business had. It was the intent of Rivera and the Applicants to obtain for the Applicants the $10,000 EIDL advances from the SBA, but not to obtain any additional loan amount. As a result of these fraudulent applications, certain Applicants received the $10,000 advances from SBA. In exchange for submitting these fraudulent EIDL applications to the SBA, Rivera charged Applicants a fee of up to $1,000 each.
Rivera is scheduled for sentencing on May 3, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. before Judge Graham, where she faces a possible maximum sentence of five years in prison
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