OCALA, Fla. – A Kissimmee man has been sentenced for COVID relief fraud offensives in connection with multiple Paycheck Protection Program loans that totaled nearly $1.3 million, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida (USAO) has announced.
Senior United States District Judge Gregory A. Presnell sentenced Levelle Joseph Harris, 36, of Kissimmee, to 27 months in federal prison for wire fraud. The court also ordered the forfeiture of $1,283,029.81, which reportedly represents the proceeds Harris obtained from his wire fraud offenses, said the USAO.
Harris pleaded guilty on September 21, 2022.
According to court records, between May 27, 2020, and June 2, 2021, Harris applied for 14 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act using false information. Reportedly, as part of Harris’s scheme, he electronically submitted applications for the PPP loans over the internet, made false representations on his PPP applications, and received proceeds from the loans through wire transfers.
Harris also provided fake supporting documentation for his loan applications, the USAO said.
Harris received $1,283,029.81 which was supposed to be used to cover payroll, fixed debts, utilities, rent/mortgage, accounts payable, and other bills. Instead, Harris is alleged to have used the money to buy a new car and investment properties.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Hannah Nowalk.