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Date: 08-10-2023

Case Style:

United States of America v. Arashio Harris

Case Number: 1:23-cr-20295

Judge: Cecilia M. Altonaga

Court: United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida (Miami-Dade County)

Plaintiff's Attorney: United States District Attorney's Office in Miami

Defendant's Attorney: Mark Figlarsh

Description: Miami, Florida criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant with wire fraud.

Harris, along with being a MDCRD Sergeant, also was the owner and President of The Good Family Property Solutions Inc. (“Good Family”) and Flying Lions LLC (“Flying Lions”). Working with an associate, on April 3, 2020, Harris submitted and caused to be submitted to the U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) a false and fraudulent EIDL application in the name of Good Family, seeking both an EIDL and an EIDL advance. In this fraudulent application, Harris falsely claimed that for the 12-month period prior to January 31, 2020, Good Family had gross revenues of approximately $130,000 and nine employees. As a result of this fraudulent application, Good Family obtained from the SBA a $9,000 EIDL advance that did not need to be repaid and $14,500 in EIDL loan proceeds. Harris also admitted that on June 30, 2020, he submitted and caused to be submitted a false and fraudulent EIDL application to the SBA for Flying Lions, claiming that Flying Lions had gross revenues of over $480,000 and 10 employees during that same period of time. As a result of this fraudulent application, Flying Lions obtained approximately $150,000 in EIDL proceeds from the SBA.

Harris additionally admitted at the change of plea that with the assistance of the same individual, he fraudulently obtained two PPP loans in the name of Good Family. First, on July 9, 2020, Harris submitted and caused to be submitted a false and fraudulent PPP loan application falsely claiming that Good Family had 10 employees and a payroll of approximately $51,710 per month. In support of this application, Harris submitted a fraudulent 2019 IRS Form 1120 falsely claiming that Good Family had a total income of over $1,050,000 and had paid wages and salaries that year of over $768,000 and a fraudulent IRS Form 944 for 2019 showing over $620,500 in wage and salary payments. The application also included false IRS Form W-2’s and Good Family payroll records for these supposed employees, and as a result of this false and fraudulent application, Harris obtained a $129,275 PPP loan from an SBA-approved PPP lender.

On February 26, 2021, Harris began the process of seeking a second-draw PPP loan for Good Family to fraudulently take advantage of the additional PPP relief being offered to businesses that suffered revenue losses in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The second-draw application once again relied on the false income and payroll numbers used to obtain the first PPP loan, and the application package included the same fraudulent 2019 IRS Form 1120, as well as a fraudulent 2019 IRS Form 940 claiming that Good Family paid its employees over $620,000 in 2019 and fabricated Good Family payroll records for those supposed employees. As a result of this second-draw application, Good Family obtained a second-draw PPP loan of $129,276 from a different SBA-approved PPP lender.

Harris is scheduled for sentencing on October 27, at 12:30 p.m. before Chief U.S. District Judge Altonaga in Miami, Fla., where he faces a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey B. Veltri of the FBI, Miami Field Office, Special Agent in Charge Matthew D. Line of the IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Miami Field Office, Inspector General Felix Jimenez of the Miami-Dade County Office of Inspector General (MDC-OIG), and SBA OIG’s Eastern Region Special Agent in Charge Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite, U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General (SBA OIG), Investigations Division’s Eastern Region, announced the guilty plea.

The FBI’s Miami Area Corruption Task Force, which includes task force officers from the MDC-OIG, working in conjunction with IRS-CI Miami and SBA-OIG Investigations Division’s Eastern Region, investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward N. Stamm is prosecuting the case.

In March 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act was enacted. It was designed to provide emergency financial assistance to the millions of Americans suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other sources of relief, the CARES Act authorized and provided funding to the SBA to provide Economic Injury Disaster Loans (“EIDLs”) to eligible small businesses, including sole proprietorships and independent contractors, experiencing substantial financial disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic to allow them to meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could otherwise have been met had the disaster not occurred. EIDL applications were submitted directly to the SBA via the SBA’s on-line application website, and the applications were processed and the loans funded for qualifying applicants directly by the SBA.

The elements of wire fraud under 18 U.S.C. 1343 are:

"The elements of wire fraud under Section 1343 directly parallel those of the mail fraud statute, but require the use of an interstate telephone call or electronic communication made in furtherance of the scheme. United States v. Briscoe, 65 F.3d 576, 583 (7th Cir. 1995) (citing United States v. Ames Sintering Co., 927 F.2d 232, 234 (6th Cir. 1990) (per curiam)); United States v. Frey, 42 F.3d 795, 797 (3d Cir. 1994) (wire fraud is identical to mail fraud statute except that it speaks of communications transmitted by wire); see also, e.g., United States v. Profit, 49 F.3d 404, 406 n. 1 (8th Cir.) (the four essential elements of the crime of wire fraud are: (1) that the defendant voluntarily and intentionally devised or participated in a scheme to defraud another out of money; (2) that the defendant did so with the intent to defraud; (3) that it was reasonably foreseeable that interstate wire communications would be used; and (4) that interstate wire communications were in fact used) (citing Manual of Model Criminal Jury Instructions for the District Courts of the Eighth Circuit 6.18.1341 (West 1994)), cert. denied, 115 S.Ct. 2289 (1995); United States v. Hanson, 41 F.3d 580, 583 (10th Cir. 1994) (two elements comprise the crime of wire fraud: (1) a scheme or artifice to defraud; and (2) use of interstate wire communication to facilitate that scheme); United States v. Faulkner, 17 F.3d 745, 771 (5th Cir. 1994) (essential elements of wire fraud are: (1) a scheme to defraud and (2) the use of, or causing the use of, interstate wire communications to execute the scheme), cert. denied, 115 S.Ct. 193 (1995); United States v. Cassiere, 4 F.3d 1006 (1st Cir. 1993) (to prove wire fraud government must show (1) scheme to defraud by means of false pretenses, (2) defendant's knowing and willful participation in scheme with intent to defraud, and (3) use of interstate wire communications in furtherance of scheme); United States v. Maxwell, 920 F.2d 1028, 1035 (D.C. Cir. 1990) ("Wire fraud requires proof of (1) a scheme to defraud; and (2) the use of an interstate wire communication to further the scheme.")."

Department of Justice

Outcome: 08/09/2023 9 PAPERLESS Minute Entry for proceedings held before Chief Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga: Change of Plea Hearing as to Arashio Harris held on 8/9/2023. Arashio Harris (1) Guilty Count 1. Total time in court: 35 minutes. Attorney Appearance(s): Edward N. Stamm, Mark Russell Eiglarsh, Court Reporter: Stephanie McCarn, 305-523-5518 / (ps1) (Entered: 08/09/2023)
08/09/2023 10 PLEA AGREEMENT as to Arashio Harris (ps1) (Entered: 08/09/2023)
08/09/2023 11 STIPULATED FACTUAL BASIS as to Arashio Harris (ps1) (Entered: 08/09/2023)
08/09/2023 12 PAPERLESS NOTICE OF SENTENCING HEARING as to Arashio Harris. Sentencing set for 10/27/2023 12:30 PM in Miami Division before Chief Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga. Counsel is instructed to report immediately to the United States Probation Office of the Court for interview and further instructions. If on bond, the defendant shall report to the Probation Office also. 30 minutes have been reserved for this hearing; if additional time will be required, please contact the courtroom deputy to arrange. Counsel are reminded that Defendant is expected to voluntarily surrender at the conclusion of the hearing should the sentence include incarceration. Extended surrender will not be considered unless a defendant is actively cooperating with the Government and the Government requests an extension of the surrender date. (ps1) (Entered: 08/09/2023)

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