Florida Man Accused of $4.2 Million Fraudulent Claim for CARES Act Relief Payments

Toby Hazlewood

He used it to buy a Lamborghini and designer clothes

A Florida man from Fort Lauderdale has been arrested and is under investigation for orchestrating a fraud scheme that attempted to obtain $4.2 million of pandemic relief funds under the CARES act.

Valesky Barosy, aged 27 is charged with five counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering and one count of aggravated identity theft. If convicted, he could face up to 132 years in prison.

It appears that he submitted fraudulent loan applications on behalf of himself and his accomplices, claiming over $4.2 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans. He also falsified other documents including IRS filings in order to substantiate the claims.

A life of luxury

It's clearly abhorrent to have fraudulently claimed money that was intended to help businesses keep paying their employees during the pandemic, but Barosy was particularly careless in what he used the money for.

His applications received $2.1 million in payments, which was used to purchase various luxury goods for Barosy and associates including a Lamborghini Huracán EVO sports car, Rolex and Hublot watches and designer clothes from Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Chanel.

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Handcuffs and CashBermix Studio on Unsplash

His case is sadly typical of those who've obtained money fraudulently where there wasn't a genuine need. In December 2021, courts began hearing the case against former NFL player Josh Bellamy and others who took part in a scheme to obtain CARES Act funds fraudulently. Bellamy admitted that he'd used some of the $1.2 million he obtained to pay for vacations and casino trips.

Fraudulently claims a big problem

Court documents from the case against Bellamy highlight the scale of the problem of fraudulent claims against the PPP scheme and other elements of the CARES Act.

Since the Act's inception, over 150 defendants have been prosecuted in more than 95 criminal cases. Over $75 million in cash proceeds derived from fraudulently obtained PPP funds has been seized, as well as numerous real estate properties and luxury items purchased with the proceeds.

When fraudsters and well-paid sports stars prove equally willing to obtain money fraudulently, it's easy to see why large sums of money have been defrauded from the Federal Government. What's most annoying is that this ultimately hits American taxpayers too.

The case against Valesky Barosy continues.

What do you think about people fraudulently claiming PPP payments and then using them to fund a life of luxury? Do you think that federal checks should have been tighter or was it right to rush money out to claimants who needed it during the pandemic? Let me know in the comments section below.

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