Ex-Miami Police Department Employees Face Extended Prison Terms for COVID-19 Relief Fraud | Credits: Getty Images
Ex-Miami Police Department Employees Face Extended Prison Terms for COVID-19 Relief Fraud | Credits: Getty Images

Ex-Miami Police Department Employees Face Extended Prison Terms for COVID-19 Relief Fraud

United States: Amidst the panorama of COVID-19 relief fraud, a significant twist has transpired, leading to the apprehension of two erstwhile members of the Miami Police Department. According to preliminary insights from authorities, both individuals are now confronted with the prospect of enduring protracted prison sentences.

The two former employees, who admitted their culpability, bear the names of 38-year-old Sheana Haslem and 35-year-old Keandra Carter, as reported by NBC Miami.

On March 6, Haslem, in a concession of guilt, acknowledged charges related to wire fraud pertaining to duplicitous submissions for a Paycheck Protection Program loan and an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance, as delineated in a communiqué from the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida on Tuesday.

During her tenure as a staffing specialist for the Miami Police Department, Haslem, in cahoots with an associate, fabricated an EIDL application submitted to the US Small Business Administration in July 2020. The application deceitfully portrayed Haslem as an independent contractor and the proprietor of a business encompassing a hair and nail salon with 15 employees, boasting nearly $90,000 in gross revenues, according to prosecutors.

As a consequence of this fraudulent endeavor, Haslem received a USD 10,000 EIDL advance, as divulged by authorities.

In February 2021, Haslem orchestrated a deceitful PPP loan application, presenting herself as an independent contractor managing a business with an average monthly payroll of USD 8,333. Furthermore, she submitted a misleading IRS form claiming ownership of a security officer business, declaring a gross income of USD 102,874, and securing a USD 20,832 PPP loan, according to authorities.

Haslem now faces the specter of a maximum 20-year prison sentence, with the sentencing slated for May 28.

Another former Miami Police Department employee, 35-year-old Keandra Carter, has also pleaded guilty to wire fraud linked to a deceptive PPP loan application, officials reported, in accordance with NBC Miami.

Carter, previously a public service aide for the MPD, submitted an application asserting ownership of a “hair braider” business with a reported gross income of USD 1.1 million in 2019, prosecutors stated.

Officials confirmed that due to the fabricated and deceptive application, Carter acquired a USD 20,833 PPP loan.

Carter, too, confronts the possibility of a 20-year prison sentence, with the sentencing scheduled for May 2.

The primary goal of the Paycheck Protection Program, designated for stimulating the local economy, aims to aid small businesses grappling with the adversities of COVID-19 by providing them with potentially tens of billions in loanable funds, as reported by NBC Miami.

Nevertheless, the earmarked funds are intended exclusively for business owners to remunerate employees, support mortgage lenders, and cover business premises rent and utilities. This constitutes a pivotal and substantial facet of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), enshrined in the COVID-19 Relief Act of 2020.