A Fairhope man will go before a federal judge in November after pleading guilty in federal court last month to two counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering in connection to fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.
Jason Carl Pears “obtained two PPP loans by submitting false PPP applications” for The Jason Made It Company and in his mother’s name for Nanny For A Week in 2020, according to a plea agreement filed Friday, Aug. 26.
Using fabricated documents as proof both companies met the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act’s qualifying standards for relief money, Pears received more than $212,000 for The Jason Made It Company and more than $995,000 for Nanny For A Week, adding up to more than $1.2 million in total. Pears used the money he received to buy luxury goods, two Mobile properties, cosmetic surgery and vacations, according to court documents.
Pears could face up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000 for each of his two counts of wire fraud, and up to 10 years and another $250,000 fine for money laundering. Restitution is mandatory in this case, the document reads, but the amount has not been named yet. Regardless, Pears will have to forfeit “all properties which represent proceeds of his criminal activities or which facilitated any aspect of these illegal activities,” the plea agreement reads.
Thomas Walsh, who represents Pears, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Special agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the inspector general’s offices of the Social Security Administration, the Department of Labor and the Small Business Administration uncovered the crimes in a joint task force.
In a statement, FBI Special Agent in Charge Paul Brown said Pears “victimized the American taxpayer and took money away from deserving people in need” when he applied for the loans, which were “designed to alleviate some of the financial hardship caused by the pandemic.”
“Criminals who refuse to play by the rules and lie, cheat and steal money will be tracked down,” U.S. Attorney Sean P. Costello said in a statement. “We continue to work with our partners in law enforcement to identify and prosecute anyone who abuses the system for their own selfish gain.”
Pears’ sentencing is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 18 before U.S. District Judge Terry Moorer.
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