HomeColumbiaSC man pleads guilty to nearly $500,000 COVID benefits fraud, used money...

SC man pleads guilty to nearly $500,000 COVID benefits fraud, used money to buy BMW and expensive motorcycle

Michael Eugene Bowers, 51, from Columbia, has admitted to committing fraud involving COVID-related benefits. During the investigation, it was discovered that Bowers had applied for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) via the Small Business Administration (SBA). He successfully obtained $480,900 on December 20, 2021, the US Department of Justice said in a press release.

This amount was transferred into a bank account under his control. Bowers then misused these funds for his personal use, including buying a Suzuki motorcycle and paying off a BMW car. He is now facing a potential maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, along with a fine that could go up to $250,000. Additionally, he may have to pay restitution and undergo three years of supervised release after his prison term.

United States Senior District Judge Joseph F. Anderson, Jr. has accepted Bowers’ guilty plea and is awaiting a sentencing report from the U.S. Probation Office before deciding on the sentence. In response to the pandemic, the Attorney General initiated the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force on May 17, 2021. This task force aims to consolidate resources from the Department of Justice and other agencies to fight and prevent fraud linked to the pandemic.

The Task Force strengthens the efforts to identify, investigate, and prosecute major domestic and international fraud cases. It also supports agencies managing relief programs to prevent fraud by improving coordination, employing new methods to detect fraudsters, and utilizing lessons from previous enforcement actions. For further details on how the department is handling pandemic-related crimes, visit Justice.gov/Coronavirus/CombatingFraud.

Michael Eugene Bowers, 51, from Columbia, has admitted to committing fraud involving COVID-related benefits, got nearly $500,000
Credit: Unsplash Premium

Read also: South Carolina woman sentenced to more than five decades in prison for shooting dead her ex, injuring another woman

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by using the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF)’s Web Complaint Form. This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Winston Holliday and Scott Matthews are prosecuting the case.

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