Central Florida man faces federal charges for using more than $ 1.9 million on an emergency basis Paycheque Protection Program funds on personal expenses, including the purchase of a new Mercedes and a van.
Keith William Nicoletta, 48, of Dade City was arrested last week on charges of bank fraud and illegal money transactions, facing 40 years in federal prison if convicted. In a criminal complaint, the US Department of Justice accused him of fraudulently claiming to employ 69 people at a junkyard that operated out of his home.
Immediately after securing the federal loan, which was aimed at helping companies retain their workers during the coronavirus pandemic, authorities said Nicoletta immediately began transferring funds to newly opened bank accounts and embarked on a spending spree.
“None of the money was used for payroll,” the DOJ said in a press release on Friday.
In addition to withdrawing $ 100,000 in cash, authorities say, Nicoletta bought a 2020 Mercedes for over $ 106,000 as well as a 2020 Ford F-250 special edition pickup valued at over 66,000. $. He also allegedly wired approximately $ 537,000 to a South Florida property management company.
A possible investigation determined that his alleged scrap company, West Coast Cores, who he said had an annual payroll of around $ 9.1 million, had been inactive for more than a year and had no employee pay in 2019 or 2020, authorities said.
Nicoletta did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment on Monday.
This summer, another Florida man was arrested on similar charges.
David Tyler Hines, 29, of Miami has been charged with bank fraud, misrepresenting a financial institution and engaging in illicit transactions after authorities said he fraudulently obtained $ 3.9 million in federal PPP loans and used it to buy a Lamborghini and for other personal expenses.
Hines was arrested in July after the $ 318,000 Lamborghini he allegedly bought with the loan money was involved in a hit-and-run accident.
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