South Florida residents sentenced to prison for $28 million COVID-19 paycheck protection program fraud scheme


Date: January 13, 2023


MIAMI — Four South Florida residents have been sentenced to prison for participating in a conspiracy to defraud the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) out of loan proceeds. These loans are guaranteed by the Small Business Administration under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

Marcgenson Marc, of Coconut Creek, Fla., was sentenced today to 15 months in prison. Previously, Wally Dorlus, of Margate, Fla., was sentenced to 48 months in prison; Edward Moise, of Coral Springs, Fla., was sentenced to 18 months in prison; and Roberto Geronimo, of Miami Gardens, Fla., was sentenced to 70 months in prison, to run concurrently with his sentence for drug conspiracy charges.

According to facts admitted by the defendants as part of their guilty pleas, Dorlus was a tax preparer who—in exchange for kickbacks—filed approximately 170 fraudulent PPP loan applications. These applications misrepresented the number of employees, payroll expenses, and gross revenues to qualify for the loans seeking more than $28 million on behalf of companies he controlled and more than 100 other ones. Of those loans, approximately 33 were funded to the tune of $5.5 million. Dorlus' kickbacks ranged from 12.5 to 25 percent of the PPP loan proceeds.

Marc was a recruiter for Dorlus who shared in and facilitated the payments of kickbacks to Dorlus. Marc, in turn, recruited Moise to apply for fraudulent PPP loans run through Dorlus and to recruit additional applicants.

One of Moise's recruits was Geronimo, who at that time was on bond pending trial on federal drug conspiracy charges in Case No. 20-CR-20066. As an individual subject to federal indictment, Geronimo was prohibited from applying for a PPP loan on behalf of any entities he controlled. Despite that, he applied for and received a fraudulent PPP loan for approximately $250,000 for a liquor store business under his control based on falsified payroll tax documentation submitted by Dorlus. Geronimo paid 25% of the loan proceeds as a kickback shared between Dorlus and Marc. It was Geronimo's PPP loan on the liquor store that tipped law enforcement off and led to the broader investigation into Dorlus' fraudulent PPP loan scheme and recruitment structure.

In addition to prison time, Dorlus will have two years of supervised release and must pay $5.6 million in restitution. Marc will have two years of supervised release and must pay $886,809 in restitution. Moise will have three years of supervised release and must pay approximately $860,000 in restitution. Geronimo will have five years of supervised release and must pay approximately $262,000 in restitution, as well as forfeit more than $86,000 from the sale of his liquor store through which he received the PPP loan.

U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe of the Southern District of Florida; Special Agent in Charge Matthew D. Line, IRS Criminal Investigation, Miami Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Deanne L. Reuter, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, made the announcement.

IRS Criminal Investigation, Miami Field Office, and DEA, Miami Field Division, investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Hauser prosecuted it and Assistant U.S. Attorney Annika Miranda handled asset forfeiture. Assistant U.S. Attorney Monique Botero prosecuted Geronimo in case number 20-CR-20066.