2 Mississippi businessmen indicted in pandemic fraud case

Jun 17, 2022, 2:57 PM | Updated: 3:24 pm

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Two Mississippi businessmen, including one who served on the governor’s economic recovery advisory commission, have been indicted on charges connected to the fraudulent receipt of more than $2 million in pandemic relief money, prosecutors said Friday.

A federal grand jury in Oxford issued indictments Wednesday of Columbus residents Jabari Ogbanna Edwards, 49, and Antwann Richardson, 37.

Edwards and Richardson are charged with money laundering, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, according to Clay Joyner, U.S. attorney for northern Mississippi. Edwards also is charged with making a false statement.

Federal court records on Friday did not list any attorneys for Edwards or Richardson.

U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock on Friday ordered the two men not to sell, transfer or give away assets connected to the case, court records show.

In April 2020, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves appointed Edwards as one of several members of Restart Mississippi, a commission to advise him on restarting Mississippi’s economy as COVID-19 cases began spreading in the state and around the nation.

Edwards and Richardson applied for and received money from the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program for the now-defunct business North Atlantic Security, according to court documents.

An indictment says North Atlantic Security received more than $500,000 from the Paycheck Protection Program about one month before it sold its contracts and assets to American Sentry Security Services.

North Atlantic Security stopped doing business in March 2021, but it applied for and received more than $1.8 million in Economic Injury Disaster Loan funds in October and November of that year, the indictment says.

Federal prosecutors allege that Edwards and Richardson laundered the money through their other businesses, including J5 Solutions, Edwards Enterprises, J5 GBL, BH Properties and The Bridge Group. The news release from Joyner said the men used the money for unauthorized expenses, including personal real estate transactions, political contributions, charitable donations, loan payments for vehicles, payments to friends, family and employees of their other companies and the purchase of Court Square Towers in Columbus.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Coast Guard employee pleads guilty in test-fixing case

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A former U.S. Coast Guard employee has pleaded guilty in a test score-fixing scheme that happened over seven years at an exam center in Louisiana, federal prosecutors said. U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans, in a news release Tuesday, said Eldridge Johnson entered the plea June 23 to one count each of […]
10 hours ago
This image provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows NHTSA administrator...
Associated Press

New NHTSA chief: Agency to scrutinize auto-driver technology

WASHINGTON (AP) — The new head of the government’s road safety agency says it will intensify efforts to understand the risks posed by automated vehicle technology so it can decide what regulations may be necessary to protect drivers, passengers and pedestrians. In an interview Wednesday, Steven Cliff, who was confirmed last month as head of […]
10 hours ago
FILE - Hershel "Woody" Williams, center, the sole surviving U.S. Marine to be awarded the Medal of ...
Associated Press

Last remaining WWII Medal of Honor recipient dies at 98

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Herschel W. “Woody” Williams, the last remaining Medal of Honor recipient from World War II, died Wednesday. He was 98. Williams’ foundation announced on Twitter and Facebook that he died at the Veterans Affairs medical center bearing his name in Huntington. As a young Marine corporal, Williams went ahead of his […]
10 hours ago
FILE - Singer Janet Jackson performs during the European MTV Awards in Bilbao, Spain, on Nov. 4, 20...
Associated Press

Essence Fest is back in New Orleans after two-year hiatus

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Black culture, in all its glory, will be on display over the 4th of July holiday weekend in New Orleans as thousands converge on the city for the in-person return of the Essence Festival of Culture. The multiday event begins with a Thursday performance by comedian Kevin Hart in the Smoothie […]
10 hours ago
Erica Mancini, an accordionist, poses before taking the stage to perform in a Ukrainian avant garde...
Associated Press

A viral reprise: When COVID-19 strikes again and again

For New York musician Erica Mancini, COVID-19 made repeat performances. March 2020. Last December. And again this May. “I’m bummed to know that I might forever just get infected,” said the 31-year-old singer, who is vaccinated and boosted. “I don’t want to be getting sick every month or every two months.” But medical experts warn […]
10 hours ago
Follow @ktar923...
Sponsored Content by Arizona Department of Health Services

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.

Sponsored Articles

Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
2 Mississippi businessmen indicted in pandemic fraud case