COVID Relief Fund Fraud: Nevada Parolee Sentenced in Oregon Court

COVID Relief Fund Fraud: Nevada Parolee Sentenced in Oregon Court

A Nevada man with a lengthy criminal record was sentenced to federal prison this week for stealing over $163,000 in coronavirus relief program funding while on supervised release for two separate state criminal convictions.

Justin David Goulet, 36, of Las Vegas, Nevada, was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release. According to the United States Attorney for the District of Oregon, he must also pay $163,100 in restitution to the US Small Business Administration (SBA).

Goulet was released from Oregon State Prison in December 2020, after serving concurrent sentences for felony forgery and theft.

However, around four months after his release from prison, Goulet devised a scheme to swindle the SBA of cash granted by Congress to assist businesses adversely affected by the coronavirus outbreak. He applied for two Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) and received one for $163,100.

Goulet created a fictitious company named Statement Venture Group, LLC, and falsely claimed it did business while he was imprisoned in 2019.

He allegedly filed false tax returns, including one purportedly made by a New York accounting company that showed high revenues and payrolls.

Goulet spent the majority of the money he unlawfully gained on travel, living expenses, cars, and illegal narcotics.

However, in February 2022, a federal grand jury in Portland indicted Goulet on charges of wire fraud. He pleaded guilty in August 2022.

The SBA Office of Inspector General and the FBI investigated the case, which was prosecuted by Ryan W. Bounds, Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Oregon.

Since January 2021, around 50 people in Oregon have been charged with fraud involving federal coronavirus relief programs. These individuals attempted to steal about $778 million in federal monies.

So far, 23 persons have been convicted of their offenses and sentenced to 477 months in federal prison, plus 894 months on probation or supervised release.

Coronavirus relief fraud has been common across the country. The Small Business Administration claims to have disbursed more than $200 billion in potentially fraudulent coronavirus compensation, implying that at least 17% of all recovery money went to potentially fraudulent actors.