We’ve all heard the stories by now. During and after COVID, countless cases of fraudulently acquired relief funds have surfaced. Some people sold fake cures, others requested emergency funds to cover payroll for companies that didn’t even exist, and the cases keep coming.
Now, a pastor here in Florida and his son are accused of requesting and receiving over $8,000,000 in COVID relief funds. Investigators say Evan Edwards and his son, Josh Edwards tried to buy a property with the funds, saying a portion of the cash was used at one point for an attempted purchase of a mansion at Walt Disney World priced at $3.7 million dollars. The father and son defendants were both arrested on Wednesday.
Authorities say Josh Edwards applied for a $6 million dollar PPP loan in April of 2020, saying the money would go toward paying payroll, rent and utilities for his church and ministry. At that time, Edwards reportedly claimed that the church had 486 employees and a payroll of $2.7 million dollars a month. Te loan was approved and the man was sent a check for $8.4 million dollars. But things went straight to hell after that. Without notice, federal investigators showed up at the address listed on the loan application to find that the doors were locked and the building was empty. Even worse, owners of businesses that were located around the church told investigators that the building had never been occupied. Then officials checked out the website for the church. They found that donation links on the site were inoperative and some were even copied from other websites. A search of church officers led them to an acountant who was suffering from dementia and hadn’t worked for the church since 2017.
Everything fell apart on Wednesday, though. That’s when federal agents showed up at the Edwards’ home in New Smyrna Beach and arrested them both. The father and son face six separate charges, ranging from conspiracy to commit bank fraud to visa fraud, since both suspects are from Canada. The Edwards family reportedly did missionary work in Turkey for many years before moving to Florida back in 2019. The family has been ordered to return the $8.4 million dollars. Source: WFLA.com
Crazy People Out There!
Tampa Makes Top 10 Cities of Most Aggressive Holiday Drivers
Making Money Like Mick!