BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — A Bloomington man will spend more than three years in prison after nearly defrauding $670,000 in government relief funds intended to assist small businesses and individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Robert K. Hall, 73, was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
According to the United States Attorney’s Office Southern District of Indiana, Hall conspired with several co-conspirators to defraud COVID-19 loan and unemployment programs during the 2020 pandemic.
Hall reportedly submitted a fraudulent application for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan without the knowledge or consent of the business he was filing on behalf of. The loan was then deposited into Hall’s account. Hall is accused of committing a similar conspiracy by filing for three Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
Hall also filed for unemployment benefits in six different states using stolen identities, the U.S. Department of Justice said. Hall then deposited the unemployment funds in his account and disbursed the funds amongst his co-conspirators.
In total, Hall attempted to steal $668,746.14 from all of his fraudulent dealings. Some of the transactions were blocked or reversed, the DOJ said, but Hall was able to successfully receive nearly $400,000 in proceeds from his schemes.
Hall retained roughly 20% of the stolen funds with the rest being transferred to his co-conspirators via checks or Bitcoin purchases.
“This defendant played a critical role in multiple fraud schemes, including stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from vital relief programs created to support individuals and businesses in the midst of a global pandemic,” said Zachary A. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.
“We will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute those who defrauded COVID-19 relief programs. My thanks to the U.S. Secret Service and our prosecutors for their efforts to hold fraudsters accountable and recover money stolen from the American public during this unprecedented crisis,” Myers added.
As part of his sentence, Hall will be required to serve three years on probation after his release from federal prison.