Florida man bought Lamborghini, Rolex, designer clothes in COVID relief fraud scheme, feds say

FILE - In this Nov. 28, 2018, file photo, the Department of Justice seal is seen in Washington, D.C. An internet firm is ending the automated registration of website names that include words or phrases related to the COVID-19 pandemic, in an attempt to combat coronavirus-related fraud. Los Angeles-based Namecheap Inc. made the pledge after a federal judge in Texas on Sunday, March 22, 2020, ordered the takedown of a website the U.S. Department of Justice accused of stealing credit card information while offering fake coronavirus vaccine kits. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File) (Jose Luis Magana, Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A South Florida man tried to obtain more than $4.2 million in COVID-19 relief funds by filing false loan applications, federal prosecutors said.

Valesky Barosy, 27, made his first appearance last week in Fort Lauderdale federal court, according to court records. He's charged with five counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering and one count of aggravated identity theft. If convicted, Barosy faces up to 132 years in prison.

According to an indictment, Barosy submitted fraudulent loan applications on behalf of himself and his accomplices, seeking more than $4.2 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans. Barosy falsified the applicant’s prior-year expenses, net profit and payroll, and submitted fraudulent IRS tax forms, prosecutors said.

Barosy and his accomplices received approximately $2.1 million in loans from the fraudulent scheme, investigators said. He used the money to purchase a Lamborghini Huracán EVO, Rolex and Hublot watches and designer clothing from Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Chanel, officials said.

Attorneys for Barosy didn't immediately respond to messages seeking comment about the charges from The Associated Press.

The Paycheck Protection Program represents billions of dollars in forgivable small business loans for Americans struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It's part of the coronavirus relief package that became federal law in 2020.


Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.