Puerto Rico indicts 44 in $1.2M COVID relief scam


A federal grand jury in Puerto Rico indicted 44 people accused in a $1.2 million scheme to illegally obtain pandemic relief funds, authorities said Thursday.

The suspects are accused of submitting at least 52 loan applications to obtain federal recovery funds that U.S. Attorney Stephen Muldrow said they used “to support their own personal lifestyles, taking needed resources from those whose legitimate businesses were suffering from losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Muldrow said several of the suspects are professional baseball coaches and players, with the majority based in Puerto Rico.

Authorities alleged the suspects submitted applications using fake tax documents, payroll records, ID cards and bank records.

One of the suspects worked at an unidentified bank, where officials seized nearly $850,000 in money related to the scheme. They also seized three cars, a power generator and some $40,000 worth of fitness equipment, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.