Ocala Man Indicted For Fraud Relating To COVID-19 Relief Funds

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FILE PHOTO: American flag waves outside the U.S. Department of Justice Building in Washington

Ocala, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces the return of an indictment charging Henry Troy Wade (45, Ocala) with six counts of wire fraud related to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in federal prison on each count. In addition, the United States is seeking an order of forfeiture for at least $524,400, which represents the proceeds of the conduct charged in the indictment.

According to the indictment, between May 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, Wade applied for Economic Injury Disaster Loan (“EIDL”) loans and grants under the CARES Act on behalf of multiple businesses he claimed to own. None of Wade’s purported businesses, however, were in operation during the requisite time period and were ineligible for an EIDL loan or grant. As part of Wade’s scheme, he electronically submitted applications for the EIDL loans and grants over the internet, made false representations on his applications, and received EIDL loans and grants from the Small Business Association (“SBA”) through wire transfers over the internet into his bank accounts.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

This case is being prosecuted as part the Department of Justice’s prosecution of fraud schemes that exploit the CARES Act relief programs. The CARES Act is a federal law enacted in March 2020, designed to provide emergency financial assistance to the millions of Americans suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief provided by the CARES Act was the authorization of the EIDL program. EIDL is an SBA program that provides low-interest funding to small businesses, renters, and homeowners affected by declared disasters. The Department of Justice remains vigilant in detecting, investigating, and prosecuting wrongdoing related to the crisis.

This case is being investigated by the U.S. Secret Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Hannah Nowalk.