Niagara Falls man sentenced for COVID-19 fraud


Date: December 20, 2022


U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced today that Leo Benevento, of Niagara Falls, New York, who was convicted of wire fraud, was sentenced to serve one year probation by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. Benevento also paid $117,300 in restitution.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell T. Ippolito, who handled the case, stated that Benevento fraudulently obtained two loans from the Small Business Association under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program, which was designed to provide low-interest loans to qualifying small businesses to help them meet financial obligations and operating expenses in the event of a disaster. Benevento submitted two false applications for loans related to his businesses, "WNY 24 7 Realty" and "Benevento Realty," grossly inflating annual revenue and grossly underreporting annual expenses for the businesses. As a result of the falsified applications, the SBA approved and funded loans totaling $117,300 under the EIDL Program. Benevento has reimbursed the SBA for the fraudulently obtained loans.

The sentencing is the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, under the direction of Special Agent-In-Charge Thomas Fattorusso, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Michael Stansbury.