COVID scheme: Careman pleads guilty to stealing nearly $4 million in PPP loan money

Carey's men pleaded guilty on November 9, 2022, to conspiracy to launder money in connection with the Paycheck Protection Act's illicit earnings.  (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

Carey’s men pleaded guilty on November 9, 2022, to conspiracy to launder money in connection with the Paycheck Protection Act’s illicit earnings. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

APs

Cary residents pleaded guilty Wednesday to pocketing millions in federal aid aimed at helping struggling small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Quentin Allen Jackson, 56, admitted to conspiracy According to news releases, he laundered money to obtain bogus Paycheck Protection Program loans for several small businesses under his control.

He faces a fine and up to 20 years in prison, according to Attorney General Michael Easley for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

In March 2020, Congress passed the CARES Act to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans suffering financial loss from the pandemic.

PPP loan assistance was the bill’s additional $649 billion of allowable loans to small businesses.

In total, Jackson has secured about $4 million in PPP financing and has recruited more than a dozen people to help him obtain the funding, the news release said.

To put his plan into action after receiving the loan, Jackson worked to make it look like his company was paying employees on a bi-weekly basis, the news release said.

Over the course of six to eight weeks, Jackson wrote checks to each person previously named as an employee in a loan application to make it appear that the company was paying them regular wages.

“In most cases, the check payee was not an employee of the borrower’s company or did not actually receive a wage equivalent to what was stated on the loan application,” the release said. “Jackson instructed what appeared to be an employee to cash the check and return the illegal cash to him.”

In addition to stealing loans, Jackson acted as a “broker”, collecting fees from co-conspirators for each additional fraudulent borrower he recruited.

Those hired will launder money for Jackson from the loan, the release said.

The office did not specify what Jackson purchased with the loan money or where the business is located.

“We will vigorously pursue criminals who have filled their pockets with taxpayer money while the pandemic cripples local businesses,” Easley said.

The Eastern District of North Carolina COVID Task Force is part of an effort to investigate and prosecute pandemic-related fraud cases.

Jackson’s sentencing is expected next year.

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Kristen Johnson is a reporter on The News & Observer’s Breaking News team. She is a graduate of Charlotte and her UNC at the American University.

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