St. Pete Man fraudulently obtained over $800,000 in PPP loan

ST. PETERSBURG, FL — A Tampa court on Tuesday sentenced a St. Petersburg man to three years and six months in federal prison for fraudulently obtaining money under various COVID-19 relief programs, a statement said. Hillsborough County Attorney’s press release.

Louis Thornton III, 63, pleaded guilty on September 13 to receiving $814,632 through the wire fraud scheme.

According to court documents from April to July 2020, Thornton submitted fraudulent applications for Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and Paycheck Protection Programs (PPP) loans through the SBA’s online EIDL portal on behalf of several defunct companies. Thornton’s applications fraudulently claimed, among other material misrepresentations, that these companies were operational and had suffered economic harm due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Thornton used the money raised from the SBA’s EIDL and PPP programs to invest in stocks, futures and commodities, documents show.

Anyone with information about alleged attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF online complaint form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.

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