A Brooklyn man faces up to 20 years in prison after being accused of fraudulently securing $1.9 million in forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, using a portion of the funds to buy the most recent Bentley and Escalade vehicle, according to federal authorities.
Leon Miles is accused of applying to the loan program, in which funds to small businesses struggling during the pandemic are forgiven if they go towards keeping workers employed. Miles allegedly used a limited liability company under his name—114 Macon LLC, a nod to his home address in Crown Heights—to apply for $1.9 million in PPP money in May, and submitted bogus IRS paperwork to back up his false claims.
Prosecutors said Miles submitted fake IRS documents showing he paid workers a total of $9 million while also purporting to have employed 50 employees under the LLC, paying monthly salaries totaling $761,838. All of it was bogus, prosecutors allege.
"Of the aforementioned IRS forms that the defendant Leon Miles submitted to support his PPP loan application was a genuine copy of a form submitted to the IRS," according to the complaint that relied on sworn testimony from FBI special agent Zachary Effting. "In fact, Miles reported to the IRS no taxable income for 2019, and 114 Macon LLC filed no tax returns for 2019 and reported no wages paid to any employees in 2019."
In building their case, prosecutors also found Miles had spent the PPP loan on items not allowed under the program, including $250,000 on a 2020 Bentley Continental and more than $100,000 on a 2020 Cadillac Escalade he allegedly purchased over the summer. Miles had posted a photo of himself next to a 2020 Bentley on Instagram with a text overlaid reading, "Old School, New Rules, Keep Your Head Up!!"
Miles has since been charged with wire fraud, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
"This type of criminal behavior is a slap in the face to all of those who play by the rules, especially while so many in our communities are suffering from the financial fallout of the pandemic," FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney said in a statement.
Miles came before a federal judge on Monday. An attorney representing Miles declined to comment.
The case adds to a growing number of instances where New Yorkers have been accused of fraudulently securing PPP loan money. In August, the feds accused a self-described "serial entrepreneur" of carrying out a scheme where he secured more than $7 million in PPP loans after claiming to have companies in Manhattan that employed more than 200 workers.