New Orleans man charged with federal cares act fraud


Date: April 4, 2023


New Orleans, LA — U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that Dent Hunter of New Orleans, LA was indicted on March 31, 2023, on one count of making false statements, one count of theft of government funds, and two counts of money laundering related to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

On March 27, 2020, the President of the United States signed into law the CARES Act, which provided emergency assistance, administered by the United States Small Business Administration (SBA), to small business owners affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  The two primary sources of funding for small businesses were the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) program.

According to the indictment, on or about April 6, 2020, Hunter made false statements to an approved lender, for a business in order to obtain a PPP loan for $122,100.  On or about July 22, 2020, Hunter stole $149,900 from the SBA by using an application in the name of NexLevel ONE Realty.  Finally, HUNTER committed two counts of money laundering when he used the ill-gotten funds to buy two motor vehicles for family members.

Hunter faces a sentence of up to five years in prison for the false statements count.  He also faces up to ten years in prison for the theft count and each money laundering count.  All of the counts include up to $250,000 in fines, and up to three years of supervised release along with a $100 mandatory special assessment fee per count due after conviction.  

U.S. Attorney Evans reiterated that an indictment is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case was investigated by an agent assigned to the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) Fraud Task Force.  The PRAC was established to serve the American public by promoting transparency and facilitating coordinated oversight of the federal government’s COVID-19 pandemic response.  The PRAC’s 21 member Inspectors General identify major risks that cross program and agency boundaries to detect fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement in the more than $5 trillion in COVID-19 spending.  The PRAC Fraud Task Force brings together agents from 15 Inspectors General to investigate fraud involving a variety of programs, including the Paycheck Protection Program.  Task force agents who are detailed to the PRAC receive expanded authority to investigate pandemic fraud as well as tools and training to support their investigations.

U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs - Office of Inspector General (a member of the PRAC) in investigating this matter.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward J. Rivera of the Financial Crimes Unit is in charge of the prosecution.