Miami Neighbors Claimed to Be Farmers in $1.1 Million COVID Relief Fraud: Feds

FILE - The Department of Justice seal is seen on a lectern ahead of a press conference in Washington, D.C., Nov. 28, 2018.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images (File)

Two neighbors who claimed they ran farms at their Miami homes as part of a $1.1 million scheme to receive fraudulent coronavirus aid loans are facing charges, authorities said.

Latoya Stanley, 38, and Johnny Philus, 33, are facing wire fraud and false statements charges and were arrested Wednesday morning, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.

Authorities said Stanley and Philus submitted four fraudulent applications for over $1.1 million in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

In her PPP application, Stanley claimed to employ 18 people from her company, Dream Gurl Beauty Supply LLC, authorities said. Stanley also claimed to generate over $800,000 in income and employ five individuals from a farm based in the yard of her Miami home in the EIDL application, authorities said.

Philus said he employed 29 people at his company, Elegance Auto Boutique LLC, and in his EIDL application, Philus claimed to generate $400,000 in income and employ ten people from a farm located in the yard of a small residential home, authorities said.

In actuality, Stanley and Philus, who are neighbors, employed no one and the farms did not exist, authorities said. The pair ultimately received over $1 million in fraudulent funds before their schemes were uncovered, officials said.

Stanley and Philus appeared in federal court Wednesday. Attorney information wasn't available.

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