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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Eastwell woman gets 6 months for $491,310 for fraud in COVID-19 loan

An Eastwell businessman who received a loan of $491,310 in the COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program claiming he had 24 employees, when in fact only one was sentenced to prison, federal officials said. officials said.

Cindy Denton, 63, was ordered released on October 8 to six months in prison, one year of home confinement and three years of supervised release. He will have to report to the jail by January 10.

Denton was also ordered to pay $377,884 and confiscated property that was not described in court documents.

Her lawyer, Manuel Gonzalez Jr., argued in a court filing that Denton, a first-time offender, should receive no jail time and instead be sentenced to two years’ probation so that he can care for children with special needs. , ages 7 and 12, that she homeschools. In addition, he said, Denton had suffered a stroke and was overweight and sending him to prison could have increased his risk of contracting COVID-19.

Denton pleaded guilty to a wire fraud case in US District Court for the Southern District of Florida on July 22.

Denton, owner and director of Emerald Z Solutions, admitted to receiving loans for his company, a DOJ release said, after submitting incorrect bank details and payroll tax forms.

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According to the criminal complaint written by IRS Special Agent Sarah Conlan, Denton paid $98,000 to a co-conspirator.

Denton was tapped into a phone call with an unidentified person who was cooperating with the investigation by stating that he had only one salaried employee, the complaint said, adding that Denton had made the claim. Despite this, no payroll tax was withheld from employees in 2018, 2019 and 2020. On loan application that his company’s monthly payroll was $196,524. He formed the company in 2013.

The complaint states that Denton admitted to officers that he wired $150,000 to his personal checking account using the proceeds of the loan. She was also seen in the video withdrawing thousands of dollars from a bank. He told the informer that he used some of the money to make credit card payments and buy a car, officials said.

Such loans, if the money is spent under federal guidelines, do not have to be returned. They are there to help struggling businesses recover from the pandemic.

“It does not appear that the PPP loan[was]used for legitimate business expenses or payroll-related expenses for an employee other than Denton,” Conlon wrote in the complaint.

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