Florida high school coach accused of defrauding COVID-19 fund of nearly $1 million
A Fort Lauterdale, Fla., high school basketball coach was arrested for allegedly submitting close to $1 million in claims to the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), according to federal prosecutors.
The PPP is a in small-business loan program established by Congress that provides funding for American businesses impacted by the pandemic this year.
The 40-year-old coach, Terrence Williams, is a championship-winning coach at Stranahan High School. He was charged Friday with several financial crimes, including bank fraud and money laundering, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.
Prosecutors accuse Williams of applying for and receiving a loan of $984,710 for his company Williams Consulting Group LLC, according to the newspaper.
Federal authorities allege Williams claimed his company employed 67 people and had an average monthly payroll of $393,884, according to the Sentinel. However, officials said that he did not have employees registered with the state. Williams is also accused of laundering the money through several bank accounts upon receiving the loan.
The federal complaint said his company also received unemployment insurance benefits.
FBI agents in court documents said Williams allegedly made a $4,872.94 car payment in Fort Lauderdale using the PPP funds and transferred another $445,985 from one account under a Williams Consulting name to another bank savings and checking account .
Stranahan athletic director Thomas Harrison told the Sun-Sentinel he was unaware Williams had been charged and declined to comment. Williams made his first court appearance Friday.
Williams is not the first Floridian to be involved in a fraud case amid the economic fallout from coronavirus. In July, another man in Florida was charged with PPP loan fraud, with prosecutors alleging he used the funds to purchase a Lamborghini.
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