North Carolina man sentenced to more than two years in prison and ordered to pay restitution for role in COVID-19 load fraud scheme

Published 9:15 am Saturday, March 11, 2023

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A Snow Hill man was sentenced Wednesday, March 8, 2023 to 31 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution for laundering fraudulently obtained Economic Injury Disaster Loan (“EIDL”) benefits, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of North Carolina. Dexter Duncan, 24, pleaded guilty on November 8, 2022.

“This defendant used stolen identities to create fictitious businesses so he could divert taxpayer money intended to support small businesses challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic to himself,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina Michael Easley. “My office will continue to make the investigation and prosecution of COVID-19 fraud a top priority.”

According to court documents and other information presented in court, Duncan conspired with others to apply for EIDL funds on behalf of fictitious companies and using stolen identities.

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“Several of the EIDL applications were approved, and $180,988 in loan proceeds was disbursed to bank accounts owned and/or controlled by Duncan, who was not employed at the time but was known live a lavish lifestyle,” stated the release.

Easley made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan. The Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa K. Labresh prosecuted.