gGeorgian man becomes last of five defendants convicted in prosecution conspiracy to secure over $1 million in COVID-19 relief funds
GREAT RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – U.S. Attorney Mark Totten announced today that former Clayton County, Georgia police officer Andre Jackson has been convicted of attempting to launder $500,000 of COVID-19 relief funds obtained fraudulently. Jackson faces up to 10 years in prison.
“Andre Jackson and his co-conspirators chose to exploit COVID-19 relief funds as a get-rich-quick opportunity by stealing funds meant to keep workers from losing their jobs,” said U.S. Attorney Totten. “This is unacceptable, and my office remains committed to holding fraudsters fully accountable for their wrongdoings.”
In 2020, Jackson introduced fellow Georgian James Williams to Jemar Mason and David Kurbanov, both residents of the Western District of Michigan. Williams helped Mason and Kurbanov prepare fraudulent applications for Paycheck Protection Program loans authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act.
Jackson and his co-conspirators exploited the scheme to obtain approximately $1.495 million in fraud proceeds. Subsequently, Jackson attempted to launder some of the proceeds by ordering two of his confederates to wire $500,000 to an overseas bank account Jackson had selected. Internal Revenue Service investigators detected the conspiracy and took steps to freeze the conspirators’ bank accounts, ultimately recovering approximately $1.123 million of the fraud proceeds.
“Today Andre Jackson was held accountable for his actions in conspiracy to steal over $1 million intended to support small businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Charles Miller, IRS Criminal Investigation, Detroit Field Office. “IRS-CI is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to combat and prevent fraud related to the CARES Act.”
Federal prosecutors in the Western District of Michigan have brought charges against five co-defendants, including Jackson, all of whom were convicted of the scheme. Jackson faces up to 10 years in prison and his sentencing is scheduled for February 23, 2023. This case was prosecuted by Assistant US Attorneys Jonathan Roth, Kristin Pinkston and Austin Hakes. It takes place before US District Judge Jane M. Beckering.
The charges in this case were part of an investigation by the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OECDTF), dubbed Operation Cashout, by law enforcement officials in the Western District of Michigan and the Northern District of Georgia, including the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Postal Inspection Service, United States Secret Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Michigan State Police, Kent Area Narcotics Enforcement Team (KANET), and Grand Rapids Police Department.
The OECDTF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, multi-agency approach focused on intelligence, which leverages the forces of federal authorities, state and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks. Additional information about the OECDTF program is available at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
The CARES Act is a federal law designed to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans suffering from the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the sources of relief provided by the CARES Act was the authorization of repayable loans to small businesses through the PPP program, which was designed to provide small businesses with loans to keep employees on the payroll. .
Note to media: Other notable pandemic-related fraud cases prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District include the following: Six defendants charged with $1 million Covid fraud schemes.