Florida couple plead guilty to $881,000 COVID-19 relief fraud

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — A Florida couple have pleaded guilty to stealing nearly $900,000 in COVID-19 relief funds.

Amber Bruey, 35, of Lehigh Acres, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Fort Myers to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to launder money and illegal currency transactions , according to court records. Her husband, Anthony Bruey, pleaded guilty to the same charges last month. A sentencing date was not immediately set for the couple.

According to court documents, the Brueys conspired to submit a total of 26 fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Loan applications to the Small Business Administration, as well as approved lenders and processors. loans, between April 2020 and June 2020. The applications contained numerous false and fraudulent representations, including dates of operation, payroll, gross earnings, total number of employees, and criminal history of the applicants or business owners.


Lenders and the SBA approved 12 of the loans, enabling the Brueys to raise $881,058.35 in PPP and EIDL funds. The couple used the money to buy a $211,457 home in North Carolina, two vehicles and to make a $23,566 restitution payment in a previous criminal case for Amber Bruey.

The Paycheck Protection Program represents billions of dollars in repayable small business loans for Americans struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s part of the coronavirus relief program that became federal law in 2020.

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