COVID Relief Fraudster Posed As Lawyer to Scam Fellow Inmates, Feds Say

Prosecutors claim that Michael Moller, a lawyer, posed as one to steal money from Rhode Island prison inmates.
Moller was awaiting sentencing for defrauding $699,251 from PPP loans.
Prosecutors claim Moller’s actions while in prison show that he is a criminal “incapable of stopping himself from defrauding others.”

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Prosecutors stated that a Rhode Island man pretended to be a lawyer in order to steal money from his fellow inmates, while he awaited sentencing. The accused was accused of defrauding the government of hundreds and thousands of dollars in federal relief loans.

Michael C. Moller, 42, was sentenced to nearly 7 years in prison on Tuesday for defrauding the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which was designed to loan money to businesses forced to temporarily close due to the coronavirus pandemic so that they could continue to pay their employees. 

Insider has seen court documents that show Moller applied for PPP loans under the names of close friends and family and created fake business profiles. Moller allegedly stole $699.251 from the program. “trips to Las Vegas and New Hampshire, numerous trips to local casinos, the purchase of a Camaro automobile, the renovation of his residence, and online video gaming.”Moller also committed this fraud while he was on supervised release from a prior conviction for armed robbery. 

Prosecutors suggested that Moller should be sentenced for a long time. In a September 27 court filing, they explained how Moller continued to engage in criminal activity even after being detained in connection with the PPP fraud scheme. 

Two Moller’s Wyatt Detention Center inmates complained to the FBI about Moller “defrauded them into giving him thousands of dollars in cash as payment to a purported lawyer who would assist them in their criminal and immigration cases,”According to the filing.  

Prosecutors claimed that Moller pretended to be a lawyer named “Sam”In phone calls with fellow inmates. They said that Moller had once lifted one of the inmates’ hopes by stating that the lawyer had been able post bail for them.

According to the filing, the inmates were ordered to pay Moller’s girlfriend legal fees. One inmate had his wife deliver $5,000 to Moller’s girlfriend and the other had a friend transfer $12,000 to Moller. Prosecutors found that the money had been spent on “marijuana, gambling, and on Moller’s commissary account.”

The court documents reveal that Moller acknowledged this scheme, and he agreed to have it affect his sentencing for the PPP fraud case in exchange for not being charged with any other offenses. 

Prosecutors requested that Moller be sentenced for 99 months imprisonment, stating that Moller’s behavior in federal prison was unacceptable. “demonstrates that Moller is simply incapable of stopping himself from defrauding others.”

“During a period in which one would imagine that Moller would be on his best behavior in an effort to convince the Court that he was remorseful for his prior conduct, he did the exact opposite by orchestrating yet another scheme to defraud people with whom he came in contact,”Prosecutors wrote.

Moller received a sentence of 82-months and three years of supervision. Moller also has to pay $100 for a special assessment as well as $599,251 in compensation. 

Insider reached Moller’s attorney for comment but didn’t receive a response until Wednesday morning. 

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