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Florida police officer charged with COVID-19 relief fraud

MIAMI (AP) — A South Florida police officer has been charged with fraudulently applying for a COVID-19 relief advance grant and low-interest loan.

A federal grand jury in Miami returned an indictment Wednesday against the 44-year-old Coral Springs police officer, according to court records. The officer faces one count of wire fraud, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

The officer’s attorney said the government has been investigating for over a year, and he questions the strength of the prosecution’s case.

According to the indictment, the officer submitted a fraudulent Economic Injury Disaster Loan application and loan agreement to the U.S. Small Business Administration on behalf of his personal business. The application falsely and fraudulently certified that the business had gross revenues of $100,000 during the year prior to January 31, 2020, investigators said.

The indictment also charges the officer with falsely and fraudulently certifying that he would use the funds only for business expenses to alleviate economic injury that the COVID-19 pandemic caused to the business. Officials said the officer spent more than $21,000 of the loan money at a car repair and detailing company for luxury vehicles and high-end auto parts.

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