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Man Pleads Guilty to Defrauding COVID-19 Relief Programs and Commercial Equipment Lenders

A Maryland man pleaded guilty today to conspiring to defraud Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act loan programs and to his role in a years-long scheme to defraud commercial equipment financing companies.

According to court documents, Andra Shirone Thompson, 47, of Silver Spring, joined a conspiracy to submit fraudulent applications for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans on behalf of companies he controlled, including Alpha Bravo Tango LLC., Senergy Consulting Group Inc., and Novus Ordo Seclorum LLC. As a result of the deceitful loan applications, Thompson fraudulently obtained $716,375. Thompson spent a portion of the proceeds on vehicles, including a 2014 Lamborghini Aventador, and on renovations to a home in North Carolina.

Thompson also joined a conspiracy to defraud equipment financing companies by submitting fraudulent invoices that falsely showed the sale of substantial quantities of computer servers and related equipment. Thompson and his co-conspirators caused borrowers to submit these invoices to lenders to support their applications for loans to purchase the items shown on the invoices. Once approved, the loan proceeds were deposited into accounts controlled by Thompson and his co-conspirators. Unbeknownst to the lenders, the sales evidenced by the invoices never occurred. Thompson and his co-conspirators typically “kicked back” a portion of the proceeds to the borrower who submitted the application and kept the rest for themselves. Thompson personally participated in three executions of this scheme that caused approximately $813,362 in fraudulently induced lending. 

Thompson pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison on each count. A sentencing date has not yet been set. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole Argentieri, head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Erek Barron for the District of Maryland; Special Agent in Charge Kareem Carter of the IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Washington, D.C., Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Pittano of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General (FDIC-OIG), Mid-Atlantic Region; Special Agent in Charge Amaleka McCall-Braithwaite of the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General (SBA-OIG), Eastern Region;  and Assistant Director Michael D. Nordwall of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division made the announcement.

IRS-CI, FDIC-OIG, SBA-OIG, and the FBI are investigating the case.

Trial Attorney David A. Peters of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Wenner for the District of Maryland are prosecuting the case.

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