(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com)– A Wayne County man is facing an indictment with more than 50 counts of wire fraud, bank fraud false statements, identity theft, and unlawful monetary transactions involving pandemic stimulus funds.
According to a release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Christopher J. Miller, 35, of Newfoundland, PA allegedly filed dozens of fraudulent applications for pandemic stimulus funds including the Payment Protection Program (PPP), for Economic Injury and Disaster Loans ( EIDLs), and for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and helped others do the same.
Miller now faces up to 30 years in prison, among other penalties, for 16 counts of wire fraud, two counts of bank fraud, two counts of false loan applications, and 17 counts of making false statements to the United States Small Business Administration, for those fraudulent applications and using the money on personal expenses.
He has also been charged with one count of aggravated identity theft for using a stolen identity to file an application.
The applications that were allegedly submitted by Miller were for businesses that didn’t have any business operations, had fake addresses, IRS-issued Employee Identification Numbers, dates of establishment and operation, number of employees as well as gross income, gross receipts and payroll obligation information.
In total, Miller and his associates are alleged to have collected about $1.5 million from those applications. Authorities also allege that Miller received cash kickbacks from other individuals that he helped file fraudulent applications on behalf of.
He’s been charged 16 counts of making unlawful monetary transactions with the proceeds of his fraud that were spent on automobiles, vacations, and real estate and other personal expenses; bringing the total number of counts to 54.
Miller faces up to 30 years in prison, supervised release and a fine under law with a mandatory minimum sentencing of two years in prison for the aggravated identity theft offense.
Indictments are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.