Two men from Tuscaloosa sentenced for committing fraud in COVID-19 relief program

In Tuscaloosa, two men were sentenced for their involvement in defrauding the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in unrelated cases. Kenzarian Lemark Harris, 38, received a 36-month prison sentence for PPP fraud after pleading guilty to wire fraud in November 2023. Harris submitted false PPP loan applications in February 2021, resulting in a loan of over $20,833. His application contained fraudulent tax and bank records, along with other misrepresentations about his business and intended use of the funds.

Reginald Dewayne Rhodes, Jr., 26, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for PPP loan fraud. Rhodes pleaded guilty to wire fraud in October 2023 after applying for and receiving a fraudulent PPP loan of $11,770 between April and June 2021. He falsely claimed to own a carpet cleaning business and provided fraudulent tax and bank records to support his application.

Both Harris and Rhodes were ordered by the court to pay restitution to the U.S. Small Business Administration for the full amount of the PPP loans plus interest. Law enforcement at all levels is addressing reports of fraudulent activities related to COVID-19 across the country. For more information about these scams, individuals can visit the provided link. Anyone with information on attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it to the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline or through the NCDF Web Complaint form.

It is essential to remain vigilant and report fraudulent activities to protect businesses and individuals from falling victim to such schemes.

By Samantha Robertson

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