Florida man sentenced for obtaining fraudulent $921K COVID-19 relief loan

MIAMI — A Florida man was sentenced to 42 months in prison for fraudulently obtaining more than $921,000 in loans through a Paycheck Protection Program guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, Carlos Vazquez, 57, of Miami, was sentenced Wednesday and must pay $921,875 in restitution. After his prison term, Vazquez will have a three-year term of supervision.

On Sept. 13, 2021, Vazquez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, the release stated.

According to court documents, Vazquez obtained a PPP loan worth $921,875 for his company, Big League LLC. The business was dormant when the COVID-19 pandemic began, but on his loan application, Vazquez stated that the business had 64 employees and had a payroll of $4.425 million during the 2019 tax year, the Miami Herald reported.

According to court documents, Vazquez admitted to submitting fraudulent tax documents and false information about the business.

According to online records, Vazquez registered Big League LLC with the state of Florida on May 23, 2016, the Herald reported. Vazquez did not file any annual reports for Big League and never registered to file taxes with the Florida Department of Revenue, according to the newspaper.

Court documents detailing Vazquez’s guilty plea noted that Big League was not operating as of Feb. 15, 2020. However, when economic relief programs were introduced, Vazquez reinstated the business with the state on June 24, 2020. Five days later he opened a bank account for the business, and he applied for a PPP loan the next day, according to the Herald.

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