About Us Contact Us Privacy Policy Terms of Use DMCA Opt-out of personalized ads
© Copyright 2023 Market Realist. Market Realist is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.

50 People Charged With Nearly $40 Million COVID-Relief Fraud

One of the applicants secured forgivable PPP loans which he then funneled into funding his luxurious lifestyle and propping up a Ponzi-style scheme.
Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Sarah Silbiger-Pool
Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Sarah Silbiger-Pool

The COVID-19 pandemic not only posed a global health crisis but also created opportunities for fraudsters to exploit vulnerable government relief programs. In North Carolina, federal prosecutors have been tirelessly pursuing these criminals, resulting in the targeting of up to 50 individuals involved in pandemic-related fraud, reports The Centre Square.

The schemes uncovered involved the misappropriation of nearly $40 million in taxpayer funds, prompting concerns over the misuse of crucial resources during a time of great need.

Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool
Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool

Since the pandemic's onset in March 2020, federal prosecutors in North Carolina have unmasked widespread fraudulent activities linked to COVID-19 relief funds. Exploiting programs like the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), pandemic unemployment insurance, and Economic Injury Disaster Loans, scammers took advantage of the chaos and urgency to deceitfully claim funds meant for legitimate businesses and individuals. These fraudulent practices have posed a significant threat to the integrity of relief efforts and have raised alarms within the state.

Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Tasos Katopodis
Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Tasos Katopodis

In the Western District, 23 individuals have been charged with fraud totaling more than $13.4 million. Among them, six have already been convicted, leading to a combined sentence of 37 years and four months in prison. Furthermore, they have been ordered to pay nearly $1.8 million in restitution or monetary judgments.

The Middle District had only four individuals identified for COVID-19 fraud, with crimes involving just over $3.3 million in relief funds. All four have been sentenced to a combined 21 years and nine months in prison and ordered to pay more than $498,000 in restitution.

Among the cases investigated, one particular instance stands out as a stark reminder of the severity of pandemic-related fraud. Steven Andiloro, a 51-year-old from Mooresville, allegedly orchestrated a sophisticated scam to siphon $2.6 million in COVID-19 relief funds between April 2020 and March 2021. Through fraudulent applications, he secured forgivable PPP loans, which he then funneled into funding his luxurious lifestyle and propping up a Ponzi-style scheme involving real and fake businesses. The indictment of Andiloro serves as a warning to others contemplating fraudulent activities and highlights the severe penalties awaiting those convicted.


Federal prosecutors in North Carolina have demonstrated a steadfast commitment to bringing pandemic fraudsters to justice. As of the current date, at least 17 individuals have been convicted, resulting in a combined sentence of 108 years and 9 months in prison. Moreover, efforts to secure restitution totaling over $4.7 million are underway, signaling a commitment to reclaiming taxpayer funds and compensating legitimate recipients.

The Eastern District leads in terms of both cases and funds involved, announcing over $22 million in fraud linked to 23 individuals. Of those, five have been sentenced to a total of 43 years in prison and ordered to pay or forfeit nearly $2.5 million in restitution. The pandemic fraud prosecutions in North Carolina shed light on the darker side of the crisis, where unscrupulous individuals sought personal gain at the expense of those genuinely in need.

The diligent pursuit of justice by federal prosecutors serves as a clear message that fraudulent activities related to COVID-19 relief funds will face severe consequences. As restitution and final judgments are pending in many cases, it is hoped that these prosecutions will deter future fraudsters, safeguarding vital resources for those who require assistance during these unprecedented times. The collective effort to uphold the integrity of relief programs ensures that taxpayer funds are utilized appropriately to support those affected by the pandemic's economic repercussions.