Former JSO officer indicted for covid relief fraud

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A former Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office corrections officer was indicted on one count of wire fraud involving COVID Relief Fraud through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Deconna Burke, 34, faces up to 20 years in federal prison and payment of restitution to the United States government if convicted, United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announced.

According to the indictment, and the Department of Justice, in April 2021, Burke submitted a PPP loan application to a lender authorized by the Small Business Administration to lend funds for approved PPP loan applications. The PPP loan application falsely claimed that Burke operated his own babysitting business with a gross income of $98,000, the release said.

Throughout the loan application, Burke made multiple false statements regarding his purported payroll and operating expenses. In support of his PPP loan application, Burke submitted a false IRS Form 1040 “Profit or Loss From Business,” the release said.

According to the DOJ, Burke received a PPP loan for $20,415. After receiving the money into his bank account, Burke began making withdrawals and spending it on personal expenses including paying off a loan for a motorcycle.

In November 2021, Burke filed a PPP Loan Forgiveness Application, falsely stating that he had spent the $20,415 on payroll. The Small Business Administration forgave the entire loan amount, the DOJ said.

The case was investigated by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and the United States Secret Service – Jacksonville Field Office.

Burke’s case is set for trial in July 2023.

Burke was employed by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office between the dates of August 30, 2021, and December 1, 2022, according to JSO. Mr. Burke was “‘terminated for cause’ with that cause being the fact he was the subject of a criminal investigation while on a probationary employment status,” JSO told News4JAX.

About the Author:

Carianne Luter is a social media producer for News4Jax and has worked at Channel 4 since December 2015. She graduated from the University of North Florida with a communication degree.