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Jamaican man in Florida arrested for loan fraud

Jamaican man in Florida arrested for loan fraud

Posted  112 Views updated 3 months ago

Forty-two-year-old Jamaica-born Omar Smith is facing the possibility of 30 years in prison in the United States after his arrest on bank and wire fraud arising from a payroll protection loan he received for his business.

Federal prosecutors contend that Smith, a past student of Jamaica College and a political consultant in South Florida, lied on his application to obtain more than US$200,000.

Federal prosecutors, in a charging document to the Federal District Court in Fort Lauderdale, accused Smith of conspiring to commit bank fraud and wire fraud.

Smith worked as a consultant for South Florida-based Jamaica-born politician Dale Holness from 2019 to 2021.

Holness, who lost his bid to win the 20th congressional seat in Florida last year in a special election to fill the vacant seat, is again a candidate for the seat running in the Democratic primary set for August 24 this year.

Federal prosecutors said that in June 2020 Smith applied for a $212,500 forgivable federally guaranteed Paycheck Protection Programme loan on behalf of his company A Star For 1 Incorporated based in Florida.

The court papers unsealed in the district court said Smith justified the loan application claiming that the company employed 30 people and had a payroll of $85,000 per month.

Prosecutors say records show that the company employed zero people and had no employees or payroll expenses.

They said that to obtain the loan, which was made by a Utah Bank, Smith submitted fraudulent payroll tax forms.

The loan was approved on the information and documentation submitted and the money was wired to Smith's company accounts.

According to the charging document, he spent the next couple of months creating a paper trail seeking to justify the loan.

Prosecutors said that cheques were issued from the company's account and made out to others who did little or no work for A Star For 1.

If convicted, Smith faces a possible 30-year sentence and a fine of US$1 million.

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