Louisiana Man Indicted for Fraudulently Obtaining COVID-19 Relief Funds and Money Laundering

Published 11:20 am Thursday, October 28, 2021

A federal grand jury in Shreveport, Louisiana, returned an indictment yesterday charging a Louisiana man with fraudulently obtaining more than $1.1 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program loans.

According to the indictment, Michael Ansezell Tolliver, 56, of Monroe, submitted nine fraudulent PPP and EIDL Program loan applications on behalf of several purported companies that Tolliver owned, including Tolliver Oil & Gas Corporation of Louisiana Inc. and Tolliver Petroleum Corporation of Louisiana. According to the indictment, Tolliver falsified information in the loan applications and supporting documents, including falsely claiming that some of his businesses had over 100 employees. He also he submitted falsified federal tax returns. In total, Tolliver sought more than $7.6 million in PPP and EIDL Program loans and obtained more than $1.1 million. Tolliver then allegedly laundered and misused the loan proceeds, including by transferring the funds to personal bank accounts and purchasing cars and luxury goods.

Tolliver is charged with two counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering. A summons will be issued and he will make his initial court appearance at a later date before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kayla D. McClusky of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison per count of wire fraud and 10 years in prison per count of money laundering. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting U.S. Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook of the Western District of Louisiana; Special Agent in Charge James E. Dorsey of IRS-Criminal Investigation’s (IRS-CI) Atlanta Field Office; and Inspector General Hannibal “Mike” Ware of the Small Business Administration, Office of Inspector General (SBA-OIG) made the announcement.

IRS-CI and SBA-OIG are investigating the case.

Trial Attorney Justin M. Woodard of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth D. Reeg of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Louisiana are prosecuting the case.

The Fraud Section leads the Criminal Division’s prosecution of fraud schemes that exploit the PPP. Since the inception of the CARES Act, the Fraud Section has prosecuted over 100 defendants in more than 70 criminal cases and has seized over $65 million in cash proceeds derived from fraudulently obtained PPP funds, as well as numerous real estate properties and luxury items purchased with such proceeds. More information can be found at https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/ppp-fraud.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866‑720‑5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.