Buffalo man arrested, charged with fraudulently receiving millions of dollars in COVID-19 funds


Date: August 19, 2022

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

Buffalo, NY — U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced today that Brian A. Smith, of Buffalo, NY, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with wire fraud. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David J. Rudroff, who is handling the case, stated that Smith, owner of B Smith and Companies, LLC, received two Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and one Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), which were administered by the Small Business Administration to assist small businesses during the COVID-19 epidemic. According to the complaint, Smith submitted false documentation to the SBA and/or the financial institutions administering the PPP program, completing loan applications with fictious gross receipts, cost of goods sold, and payroll for businesses under his control. Smith is also accused of filing false tax returns misrepresenting his income to receive COVID relief loans for which he would not otherwise qualify. Smith personally received approximately $119,633.00 in EIDL and PPP loans, which he deposited into bank accounts that he controlled. The funds were ultimately used for personal expenditures at adult entertainment clubs, hotels, restaurants, cash withdrawals, and on retail goods.

In October of 2010, Smith was convicted of wire fraud in the Eastern District of Missouri and served 10 months in prison. In September 2012, Smith was convicted of wire and bank fraud in the Western District of New York and was sentenced to 63 months in prison. In September 2019, Smith was sentenced to serve an additional nine months in prison after violating the terms of his supervised release.

Smith made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Roemer and was released on conditions.

The complaint 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 Special Agent-in-Charge Stephen Belongia.

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.