UNITED STATES NEWS

17 Florida sheriff’s deputies accused of stealing about $500,000 in pandemic relief funds

Oct 12, 2023, 1:45 PM

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Seventeen Florida sheriff’s deputies appeared in court Thursday on charges that they stole about half a million dollars in pandemic relief funds.

The Broward County deputies, who are charged separately, are accused of a range of crimes, according to court records. Most are charged with wire fraud, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, though one deputy is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which has a maximum sentence of five years.

The eight law enforcement deputies and nine detention deputies have been suspended, Sheriff Gregory Tony said during a news conference. He said his office is going through the legal process of firing them.

“At the end of the day, they will be gone,” Tony said.

The deputies collectively defrauded the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program out of about $500,000, said Markenzy Lapointe, the U.S. attorney for the southern district of Florida.

“No matter the amount, we will not allow limited federal tax dollars, which were intended to provide a lifeline to small businesses as they struggled to stay afloat during the economically devastating pandemic lockdown, to be swindled by those who were employed in a position of trust and cast aside their duty to uphold and abide by the law,” Lapointe said.

Tony said his office began investigating the agency’s 5,600 employees in late 2021 after learning that pandemic relief fraud was an emerging trend within public service agencies and receiving a tip that some of his employees might have participated in fraud. Broward Sheriff’s Office investigators found about 100 employees who had applied for COVID-19 relief loans and eventually turned the investigation over to the U.S. attorney’s office and the Federal Reserve Board.

“For five years, I’ve maintained an organization committed to transparency and accountability,” Tony said. “I will continue to expect integrity and commitment to excellence from every BSO employee.”

Lapointe said his office continues to investigate possible fraud.

The Paycheck Protection Program involves billions of dollars in forgivable small-business loans for Americans struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The money must be used to pay employees, mortgage interest, rent and utilities. It is part of the coronavirus relief package that became federal law in 2020. The Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is designed to provide economic relief to small businesses that are experiencing a temporary loss of revenue.

United States News

Associated Press

3 falcon chicks hatch atop the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge in New York City

NEW YORK (AP) — Three peregrine falcon chicks have hatched in a nest built at the top of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge in New York City, officials said. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority Bridges and Tunnels said Friday that the chicks hatched in a nesting box set up by the agency atop a 693-foot-tall (211-meter-tall) tower on […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Baltimore police fatally shoot a man who pulls gun during questioning; detective injured

BALTIMORE (AP) — Police officers in Baltimore fatally shot a man who pulled a gun while they questioned him in a different shooting, authorities said. A detective was shot in the chest, and his protective vest likely saved his life, Police Commissioner Richard Worley told reporters. Police were on the city’s south side investigating a […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

California teenager arrested after violent swarm pounded and kicked a deputy’s car

HIGHLAND, Calif. (AP) — A teenager was taken into custody after a crowd of young people swarmed a deputy’s patrol car earlier this month, kicking and punching the vehicle before the deputy could drive away, a California sheriff’s office said this week. The 15-year-old male allegedly opened the driver’s door of the San Bernardino Sheriff’s […]

3 hours ago

Travelers walk through Salt Lake City International Airport Friday, May 24, 2024, in Salt Lake City...

Associated Press

Record broken for most travelers screened at US airports on Friday, according to TSA

A record was broken ahead of the Memorial Day weekend for the number of airline travelers screened at U.S. airports.

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Biden’s message to West Point graduates: You’re being asked to tackle threats ‘like none before’

WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) — President Joe Biden on Saturday told graduates of the U.S. Military Academy that their class is being called upon to tackle threats across the globe and preserve the country’s ideals at home “like none before.” Biden said the phrase, the class motto, was apt for the sorts of challenges they […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Forecasters warn Oklahoma may see tornadoes; Texas could bake in triple-digit temperatures

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Forecasters are warning of another day of heightened risk of dangerous tornadoes in the Midwest on Saturday and telling people in south Texas they may experience triple-digit temperatures — and that’s with four weeks to go before summer starts. The weather service in Oklahoma compared the day to “a gasoline-soaked brush […]

9 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

17 Florida sheriff’s deputies accused of stealing about $500,000 in pandemic relief funds