St. George businessman sentenced to 29 months’ imprisonment for fraudulently receiving over $685,000 in COVID relief funds


Date: May 14, 2024


St. George, UT — Bradford Leland Fishback of St. George was sentenced today to over two years’ imprisonment, three years’ supervised release and ordered by the court to pay $685,845.05 in restitution. The sentence, imposed by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Robert J. Shelby, comes after Fishback admitted to fraudulently obtaining government funds from programs intended to help employees and small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to court documents and statements made at the change of plea hearing, Fishback pled guilty in September 2023 to wire fraud, money laundering, and false claims.

Fishback admitted that from 2020 to 2022, he devised a scheme to defraud and obtain money by fraudulently submitting requests for Employee Retention Tax Credits, by filing 22 Forms 941s with the Internal Revenue Service on behalf of his four businesses: Circle CPA; Fishback Tax; Snowflake Shavery; and World Horizons Outreach. As a result of his fraudulent filings, Fishback received $482,058.46 from the IRS.

Additionally, Fishback fraudulently submitted at least seven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications to the Small Business Administration on behalf of his four businesses. Fishback’s false statements about the entities’ number of employees, wages paid, gross receipts, and profit and loss resulted in him receiving $77,629 in PPP loans.

Fishback also admitted to submitting at least five applications for Economic Injury Disaster (EID) loans to the Small Business Administration of behalf of his four business. His false applications led to him receiving $137,573.

Fishback further admitted to submitting false applications for unemployment benefits to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation. His false statements led to him receiving $45,831 in unemployment benefits.

In total, Fishback’s false statements resulted in him claiming $903,882.88 and receiving $685,845.05 in COVID relief funds.

The case was investigated jointly by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (CI) and the FBI Salt Lake City Field Office.

Assistant United States Attorney Stephen Dent and Jennifer K. Muyskens of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah prosecuted the case.

CI is the criminal investigative arm of the IRS, responsible for conducting financial crime investigations, including tax fraud, narcotics trafficking, money-laundering, public corruption, healthcare fraud, identity theft and more. CI special agents are the only federal law enforcement agents with investigative jurisdiction over violations of the Internal Revenue Code, obtaining a more than a 90 percent federal conviction rate. The agency has 20 field offices located across the U.S. and 12 attaché posts abroad.