A Miami police officer has been charged with submitting fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan documents for his business. The Miami police officer, who has been identified as 44-year-old Dermis Hernandez, was arrested on March 12th and faces charges of wire fraud, bank fraud, and making false statements to a financial institution.
According to the indictment in Miami, Hernandez submitted two PPP loan applications on behalf of his business, called “DH Endodontics,” in April and July of 2020. In both applications, he allegedly misrepresented the number of employees and the number of payroll expenses associated with the business.
Miami Police Officer Allegedly Submits False PPP Loan Applications
The first application, submitted in April to Miami police, requested a loan of $786,767, claiming that DH Endodontics had 23 employees and an average monthly payroll of $524,511. The second application, submitted in July, requested a loan of $72,000, claiming that the business had four employees and an average monthly payroll of $72,000.
However, the indictment in Miami alleges that DH Endodontics had no employees and no payroll expenses during the relevant period. Instead, Hernandez allegedly used the loan proceeds to make personal purchases, including luxury goods, jewelry, and high-end clothing.
In addition to the fraudulent PPP loan applications, Hernandez is also accused of making false statements to the bank that processed the loans. Specifically, he allegedly provided fake tax documents and payroll records to support his claims about the number of employees and the number of payroll expenses associated with DH Endodontics.
If convicted, Hernandez could face up to 30 years in prison for the wire fraud and bank fraud charges, as well as an additional five years for the false statement charge. He could also be fined up to $1 million for each count of wire and bank fraud and up to $250,000 for the false statement charge.
The PPP loan program was established as part of the CARES Act in March 2020, to provide financial assistance to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program has been plagued by fraud, with numerous individuals and businesses accused of submitting false information to obtain loan funds.
To date, the Department of Justice has charged more than 120 individuals with PPP-related fraud and has recovered over $620 million in PPP funds. The DOJ has also issued guidance to banks and other lenders on how to detect and prevent PPP fraud and has encouraged the public to report suspected fraud to the National Center for Disaster Fraud hotline.
An officer with the Miami Police Department is being accused of submitting false paperwork to receive financial assistance from the COVID-19 relief fund. The false paperwork was allegedly submitted to receive financial assistance. This matter is the subject of an investigation, and the findings of that investigation will be made public as soon as they are ready to be shared with the public.
Gregory Dennis is being investigated for the white-collar crime known as wire fraud, which falls under the category of financial scams that fall under the category of felony offenses. If he is discovered to be guilty, he runs the risk of receiving a prison sentence that is anywhere from ten to twenty years long.
When Dennis applied for a hardship loan due to the pandemic, the prosecutors claim that he submitted false tax forms to understate his business income. This was done so that he could qualify for the loan. The fact that Dennis applied for the loan serves as the basis for this allegation.
The total amount that Dennis, who lives in Broward County, Florida, was given was greater than $41,000 after he received the two loan draws that were made available to him. This upcoming Friday, his presence in court is required under penalty of arrest.
Dennis, who started working for the Miami Police Department in May 2013, has reportedly been fired from his position, and the department has stated that he will not receive any additional compensation for his termination. The month of May 2013 marked the beginning of Dennis’s employment with the department.
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