BOSTON – A Lawrence man and a Methuen man were charged yesterday by a state grand jury over a scheme that uses stolen identities to fraudulently obtain loans for economic damage from the Small Business Administration (SBA) and launder the funds.
Darwyn Joseph, 24, of Lawrence, and Ramon Joseph Cruz, Jr., 24, of Methuen, were each charged with one case of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, four cases of wire transfer fraud and aiding and abetting, and one case of aggravated identity theft. The defendants were charged with criminal charges and arrested in December 2020.
According to the indictment documents, the defendants were involved in a conspiracy to use stolen identity information from US citizens to apply for SBA loans for economic damage. In particular, Joseph and Cruz used stolen identity information from US citizens to open fraudulent bank accounts, which were then linked to other fraudulent bank accounts set up to obtain the SBA funds. Joseph and Cruz also received in the mail some of the debit cards associated with fraudulent bank accounts that SBA funds were deposited into, and then laundered those funds by using them to purchase large numbers of iPhones for resale. Joseph and Cruz also transferred some of the funds to the Dominican Republic to help move the project forward.
It is alleged that over $ 452,000 in SBA funds was fraudulently obtained in connection with this program. About $ 250,000 of that money was used to purchase iPhones in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
The remittance fraud and remittance fraud conspiracy charges include a prison sentence of up to 20 years, a three-year custodial release, and a fine of up to $ 250,000 or double the gross profit or loss from the offense. The aggravated identity theft charge carries a compulsory two-year prison term following any other sentence, up to one year of supervised release, and a fine of up to $ 250,000. Penalties are imposed by a federal district judge based on the US Sentencing Guidelines and other legal factors.
This was announced by US Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and William S. Walker, acting special agent for Homeland Security Investigations in Boston. US Assistant Attorneys Elianna Nuzum and Adam Deitch from the Lelling Serious Crimes Division are following the case.
The information in the loading documents are allegations. The accused are presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond any doubt in a court of law.