Cleveland man sentenced to prison for COVID-19 loan fraud and illegal possession of a firearm


Date: November 4, 2022


CLEVELAND — Demetrius Moore, of Cleveland, Ohio, was sentenced on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, to three and a half years in prison by U.S. District Judge Pamela A. Barker and was ordered to pay $183,215.47 in restitution to the Small Business Administration (SBA). Judge Barker pronounced the sentence after Moore pleaded guilty to his role in a scheme to defraud the (SBA) by unlawfully acquiring Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) loan funding.

Moore previously pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government funds, two counts of wire fraud and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

According to court documents, between July 2020 and March 2021, Moore devised and participated in a scheme to defraud the SBA by obtaining PPP and EIDL loans through false and fraudulent pretenses and spent loan funding on personal expenses, such as a Rolex watch, a Volvo Sleeper Truck Tractor and retail purchases at Best Buy and Louis Vuitton.

As part of the scheme, in July 2020, Moore opened a business bank account in the name of a purported investment company with no legitimate business operations and no employees. Moore and an unnamed coconspirator then used that bank account to apply for and receive PPP and EIDL loans.

Court documents state that Moore provided false and fictitious information on his PPP and EIDL loan applications, including declaring that his company had 10 employees and substantial annual revenues when, in fact, it had neither. As a result of these fraudulent loan applications, Moore received $183,215.47 in funding from both the PPP and EIDL. After the funds were deposited into his bank account, Moore then used the funds to make personal purchases.

On Nov. 19, 2020, during the execution of a search warrant, authorities found Moore to be in possession of a firearm. Moore is prohibited from possessing a firearm due to previous drug trafficking and firearms offense convictions in the United States District Court and the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas.

At the time of the offense conduct, Moore was on federal supervised release for some of these violations.

This case was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigations (CI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) . This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Margaret A. Sweeney, Elliot D. Morrison and Alejandro A. Abreu.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security ("CARES") Act was a federal law enacted in or around March 2020 and was designed to provide emergency financial assistance to Americans suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the CARES Act, the SBA provided financial assistance, in part, via the EIDL and PPP program to businesses negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.