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Man Sentenced to Prison for COVID-19 Relief Fraud, Ordered to Repay $1.3M

Waldron had submitted over 20 applications for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for several businesses and people.
Cover Image Source: The seal of the F.B.I. hangs in the Flag Room at the bureau's headquarters | Getty Images | Photo by Chip Somodevilla
Cover Image Source: The seal of the F.B.I. hangs in the Flag Room at the bureau's headquarters | Getty Images | Photo by Chip Somodevilla

A Coffee County resident faces jail time and a hefty repayment following his role in a COVID-19 Pandemic fraud scheme. Kyle Waldron, aged 59, has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for money laundering. Additionally, he will serve three years of supervised release. Waldron must also pay restitution totaling $1,371,219, relating to fraudulent activities involving COVID-19 relief funds, per DOJ. 


"Kyle Waldron committed brazen fraud and theft from pandemic relief funds," said U.S. Attorney Steinberg. "We continue to collaborate with our law enforcement partners to hold accountable those who would illegally access these funds to fuel their greed."

As per the court documents, Waldron had submitted over twenty applications for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act on behalf of several businesses and people.

"The sentence, along with the restitution, serves as a notice to those who committed COVID-19 fraud that IRS Criminal Investigation special agents and our partners are still conducting investigations and holding them accountable," said Demetrius Hardeman, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Atlanta Field Office.


"Waldron believed that he could commit fraud and steal money designated to help businesses struggling to survive during the COVID-19 pandemic," said J. Craig Reno, Resident Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service Savannah Resident Office.

"This sentence is a warning to potential thieves that they will be caught and prosecuted. As part of our dual protective and investigative mission, we are tasked with safeguarding the United States’ financial and payment systems from criminal exploitation."

As per last year's report by Reuters, over $200 billion has been potentially stolen from the U.S. government's COVID-19 relief programs. In a similar incident, two men were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, allegedly obtaining fraudulent proceeds of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, the COVID-19 loan guaranteed by the Small Business Administration. 


The two men allegedly withdrew the money from multiple ATMs and received more than $1 million in fraudulent loan proceeds. Now, they can face a maximum of 30 years in federal prison.

Meanwhile, ten Mid-South business owners and pastors were indicted for involvement in COVID-19 relief fraud schemes last year. According to court documents, the defendants allegedly submitted false and fraudulent loan applications, collectively seeking over $950,000 in funds. The funds were purportedly used for unauthorized purposes, including personal expenses.

Image Source: Unsplash | Photo by SJ Objio
Image Source: Unsplash | Photo by SJ Objio

"The pandemic is long over, but we won’t quit in our mission to run down stolen taxpayer money and ensure the integrity of federal relief programs," said U.S. Attorney Michael Easley. "Those who committed COVID-19 fraud should know that we’re well-resourced and we’re still coming."

Back in 2021, The States Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force and combined the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across the government in hopes of combating and preventing these scams.

"The U.S. Secret Service is committed to investigating cases of fraud and we work hand-in-hand with our law enforcement partners to pursue justice for victims of financial crime across the country," said Resident Special Agent Reno.