Two Laplace Residents Charged for Fraudulent Applications for Cares Act Financial Assistance
Published 8:49 am Tuesday, July 18, 2023
NEW ORLEANS – Lynn Schofield, age 60, and Bashir Schofield, age 23, residents of LaPlace, Louisiana, were federally charged on July 13, 2023 for preparing and filing false loan applications related to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), announced U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans. Lynn Schofield was charged in a one-count bill of information with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 371 and 1343. Bashir Schofield was charged in a one-count bill of information with wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343.
According to the bills of information, Lynn Schofield and Bashir Schofield worked together with another, unnamed individual to submit applications to fraudulently obtain money from Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and Economic Injury Disaster loans (EIDL). Each defendant submitted at least one loan, and all applications falsely represented that the applicant had a sole proprietorship and generated substantial income from the business by falsely overinflating gross receipts. They also misrepresented that the loan proceeds were for business purposes. Instead, the defendants intended to use the money for personal purposes. More specifically, the entities either did not exist or earned far less money than Lynn Schofield, Bashir Schofield, and the unnamed individual represented.
Lynn Schofield faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five (5) years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, up to a $250,000 fine, and a $100 mandatory special assessment fee. Bashir Schofield faces a maximum term of imprisonment of twenty (20) years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, up to a $250,000 fine, and a $100 mandatory special assessment fee.
U. S. Attorney Evans reiterated that a bill of information is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendants must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
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
For more information on the Department of Justice’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.
U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in investigating this matter. Assistant United States Attorney Jordan Ginsberg, Chief of the Public Integrity Unit, is in charge of the prosecution.