MIAMI — Judlex Jean Louis, 32, of Lauderhill, Florida, was arrested and charged with bank fraud, making false statements to a financial institution, and aggravated identity theft after receiving fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans intended to help small businesses keep employees paid during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time of his arrest, Louis was awaiting trial on theft, money laundering, and fraud charges related to a separate series of crimes occurring in 2014 and 2015.
Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Brian Swain, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service’s (USSS) Miami Field Office; and Michael J. De Palma, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI), Miami Office, made the announcement.
The federal government enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 27, 2020 to provide emergency financial assistance to the millions of Americans suffering economic harm from the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief the government established through the CARES Act was the authorization of government-backed and potentially forgivable PPP loans to small businesses for job retention and certain other expenses.
According to the allegations in the criminal complaint, Louis received proceeds from three fraudulent PPP loans in early June 2020. Each loan application hid Louis’s identity as the true loan recipient. On a loan application that Louis submitted for his own claimed business using a social security number that did not belong to him, Louis allegedly falsely certified that he was not subject to any pending criminal charges. On another loan application that Louis submitted in the name of an accomplice’s purported business, he allegedly used a doctored bank statement. Finally, on a third loan application, Louis allegedly made up a business and used the name and social security number of a victim to whom he had no connection. According to the criminal complaint affidavit, Louis had PPP loan money deposited into accounts that he controlled. Surveillance cameras caught Louis withdrawing cash from one of these accounts soon after the loan money was deposited.
Louis is scheduled to appear for a detention hearing and preliminary hearing on August 14, 2020, at 11:00 a.m., before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lurana S. Snow, who sits in Ft. Lauderdale.
USSS Miami and IRS-CI Miami handled the investigation, with assistance from the Coral Springs Police Department: Economic Crimes Unit, the Broward County State Attorney’s Office, and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kiran N. Bhat is prosecuting this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole S. Grosnof is handling asset forfeiture.
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
A criminal complaint is a charging instrument containing allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.