Aurora man sentenced to 66 months for COVID fraud


Date: August 12, 2022


DENVER — The United States Attorney's Office for the District of Colorado announces Russell Ray Foreman, of Aurora, Colorado, has been sentenced to 66 months for money laundering and wire fraud.

According to the plea agreement, between March 29, 2020 and October 6, 2020, the defendant submitted seven several fraudulent Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) applications to the Small Business Administration (SBA). Two of the EIDL applications were approved and funded by the SBA. As a result of those fraudulent EIDL applications, LLCs created by the defendant received $196,500.00 in EIDL proceeds. He knowingly made false statements about the number of employees for each business, the gross revenues, the cost of goods sold, and the date each business was formed. On May 14, 2020, Foreman filed a false and misleading Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan application. As a result of the application, on May 26, 2020, an FDIC insured bank funded Foreman with a $20,052.00 PPP loan. He also aided and abetted a codefendant who made a false EIDL application and received $150,000.00.

Also, according to the plea agreement, the defendant laundered proceeds by causing the transfer of funds to his sister which was later returned to him.

At the sentencing hearing, the court considered that the defendant had been associated with unsuccessful applications under the CARES Act totaling over 2 million dollars.

Judge Raymond P. Moore sentenced Foreman on August 12, 2022. He also ordered restitution in the amount of $367,000.00.

"We are proud of the work being done by our partners at IRS-CI to investigate and bring to justice people who took advantage of these programs that were designed to help people in need during the COVID-19 pandemic," said U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan. "We will continue to prosecute anyone who tries to defraud the United States Government out of money that was made supposed to be used to keep small businesses afloat during this national emergency."

"Today's sentencing is a direct reflection of IRS Criminal Investigation's commitment to investigating individuals who lined their pockets with COVID relief funds," said Andy Tsui, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation Denver Field Office. "IRS Criminal Investigation has a 100% conviction rate for COVID relief fraud investigations prosecuted in federal court, and we will continue to hold criminals accountable that divert money intended for legitimate businesses."

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations Denver Field Office (IRS-CI). Prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert M. Brown.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts.