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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Doctor, wife charged for $1.3M COVID-19 loan fraud scheme

A Nevada (USA) doctor and his wife have been charged with fraudulently obtaining about $1.3 million in COVID-19 pandemic relief loans through the US Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

According to court documents, as reported by the Office of Public Affairs of the Department of Justice, Kofi Sarfo, 58, of Las Vegas, is a medical doctor and the owner and president of Vista Medical Associates, a Las Vegas medical practice. His wife, Rose Sarfo, 54, also of Las Vegas, is the office manager and treasurer of Vista Medical Associates.

Kofi and Rose Sarfo allegedly conspired to submit false loan applications to obtain EIDL and PPP pandemic relief funds. Rather than spending the money on their business as represented in the loan applications, the Sarfos allegedly used at least some of the funds to purchase stocks and cryptocurrency.

The Sarfos are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and four counts of wire fraud. In addition, Kofi Sarfo is charged with one count of money laundering.

If convicted, they each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and for each count of wire fraud. Kofi Sarfo also faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on the money laundering charge.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Special Agent in Charge Spencer L. Evans of the FBI Las Vegas Field Office made the announcement.

The FBI Las Vegas Field Office is investigating the case while Trial Attorney Kyle Crawford of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section is prosecuting the case.

In May 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud.

The task force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts.

Credit: US Department of Justice / Office of Public Affairs

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