The office of United States Attorney Andrew Lelling announced on Thursday, January 21, that a Worcester couple faces federal charges for fraudulently applying for business loans under the CARES Act and spending the money on personal expenses.
The complaint claims that Lucy Oworae, 56, and Richard Oworae, 59, created fictitious companies and submitted applications with false statements to the Small Business Administration [SBA] for at least three Economic Injury Disaster Loans [EIDL] for some $194,700.
The Oworaes then allegedly spent the funds on unauthorized personal expenses and money transfers through Tanzania to individuals in Ghana.
EIDL funds are available to eligible individuals and businesses through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act [“CARES Act”]. The CARES Act allowed for the SBA to offer EIDL funding to business owners negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program requires that recipients spend the funds on certain permissible business expenses.
The Oworaes face up to 20 years in prison on charges of wire fraud, and up to five years in prison for making false statements.