4 Metro Detroiters accused of defrauding COVID business loan program
Four Metro Detroiters are accused of a scheme involving more than $4 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds, officials said Tuesday.
Antonio George, 45, of Novi; Kevin Womble, 37, of Detroit; Andrae Sims, 43, of Farmington Hills; and Sarah Vidal, 31, of Novi each are being charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.
George, who is a tax preparer, also has been charged with three counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false and fraudulent returns.
If convicted of all of the charges, George faces up to 29 years in prison. Womble, Sims and Vidal each face up to 20 years.
George and Womble made appearances Tuesday in the Eastern District of Michigan court, records show. Vidal was set to make her initial appearance Wednesday.
According to authorities, George tried to obtain about $4.1 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans and Economic Injury Disaster loans through applications submitted on behalf of 16 companies.
The Small Business Administration provided the loans under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
The Justice Department said George, Womble, Sims and Vidal provided false and misleading documents about certain aspects of the companies’ respective business operations and payroll expenses.