BOSTON – A Worcester couple were arrested today on charges of fraudulently applying for business loans under the CARES Act and then spending the money on personal expenses.
Lucy Oworae, 56, and her husband, Richard Oworae, 59, have been criminally charged with wire fraud and misrepresentation. They will make their first appearance before US Justice of the Peace David H. Hennessy this afternoon.
According to the impeachment documents, between late July 2020 and late August 2020, Lucy and Richard Oworae attempted to defraud the Small Business Administration (SBA) by submitting claims through the SBA website for at least three loans in the event disaster recovery (EIDL) totaling approximately $ 194,700. The Oworaes fraudulently applied for EIDL loans, provided false statements on loan applications, and misappropriated loan funds for their personal use.
The Oworas allegedly set up shell businesses with the aim of fraudulently applying for EIDL loans, and spent the funds obtained through this fraud on unauthorized personal expenses and to make money transfers through a money transfer company based in Tanzania to many people residing in Ghana.
EIDL funds are available to eligible individuals and businesses under the Coronavirus Help, Relief and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”). The provisions of the CARES Act allowed the SBA to offer EIDL funding to business owners affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The provisions of the EIDL program require that the loan proceeds be used only for certain permitted business expenses, which may include the payment of fixed business debts, payroll, accounts payable and other business expenses that could have been paid in the event. disaster of COVID-19. not happened.
The wire fraud charge carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $ 250,000. The misrepresentation charge carries a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $ 250,000. Sentences are passed by a judge in a federal district court based on US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.
American lawyer Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph W. Cronin, inspector in charge of the US Postal Inspection Service; and Matthew Modafferi, Special Agent in Charge of the Office of the Inspector General of Postal Services of the United States, made the announcement today. Assistant US Attorney Danial Bennett of Lelling’s Worcester branch is pursuing the case.
The details contained in the impeachment documents are allegations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until their guilt is established beyond a reasonable doubt by a court.