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3 Grand Rapids men, 2 others charged with COVID-19 relief fraud

According to a release, investigators located and recovered about $1.123 million of the loan funds.
Credit: Micha? Chodyra
Photo: Thinkstock

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — Five men were indicted by a grand jury on multiple federal charges for COVID-19 relief fraud, United State Attorney Andrew Birge announced Wednesday. Three of the men are from Grand Rapids.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is a federal law designed to provide emergency financial assistance to Americans suffering from the economic effects caused by COVID-19.

One way relief is provided is through the authorization of forgivable loans to small businesses though the PPP program, which provides small businesses with loans to keep employees on the payroll.

The indictment alleges that Jemar Mason and David Kurbanov, along with Andre Jackson and James Williams, received approximately $1.495 million through the Small Business Administration and the PPP for two shell companies.

Allegedly, the defendants – with help from Dennis Cartwright – attempted to transfer the money to cover up the fact that it was fraudulently obtained. According to a release, investigators located and recovered about $1.123 million of the loan funds.

Mason, Kurbanov, and Cartwright live in the Grand Rapids area. Williams and Jackson live in the Atlanta, Georgia area. The men face the following charges, as provided by the Department of Justice:

Jemar Ahton Mason – conspiracy to commit wire fraud & wire fraud (each punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000); conspiracy to commit concealment money laundering (up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000); and two counts of attempting to engage in a monetary transaction in property derived from specified unlawful activity (each punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000)

David Kurbanov – conspiracy to commit wire fraud & wire fraud (each punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000); conspiracy to commit concealment money laundering (up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000); and three counts of engaging in, or attempting to engage in, a monetary transaction in property derived from specified unlawful activity (each punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000)

Dennis Lynn Cartwright, Jr. – conspiracy to commit concealment money laundering (up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000) and engaging in a monetary transaction in property derived from specified unlawful activity (up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000)

Andre Jackson – conspiracy to commit wire fraud & wire fraud (each punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000); conspiracy to commit concealment money laundering (up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000); and attempting to engage in a monetary transaction in property derived from specified unlawful activity (up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000)

James Williams – conspiracy to commit wire fraud & wire fraud (each punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000); conspiracy to commit concealment money laundering (up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000); and attempting to engage in a monetary transaction in property derived from specified unlawful activity (up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000)

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