☷Former South Georgia Pastor Tax Preparer Sentenced to Federal Prison for COVID 19 Relief Fraud
Federal Bureau of Investigation ( By Press Release office)
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Former South Georgia pastor , tax preparer sentenced to federal prison for COVID - 19 relief fraud Defendant lied to SBA , used funds to buy Mercedes - Benz BRUNSWICK , GA: A three - time convicted felon who held himself out as a pastor , mortician , restaurateur , and tax preparer has admitted lying to receive COVID - 19 small business assistance . Mack Devon Knight , 45 , of Stonecrest , Ga . , formerly of Kingsland , Ga . , was sentenced to 29 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release after previously pleading guilty to two counts of Wire Fraud , said David H . Estes , U . S . Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia . In pleading guilty to the charges , Knight also agreed to pay $149 , 000 in restitution to the Small Business Administration . “When Congress provided more than $6 . 5 billion through the Coronavirus Aid , Relief and Security ( CARES ) Act to help small businesses struggling financially during the pandemic , fraudsters like Mack Knight came out of the woodwork” said U . S . Attorney Estes . “With our law enforcement partners , we are identifying and holding accountable these scam artists attempting to steal taxpayer funds . ” As described in court documents and testimony , in February and March 2021 , Knight applied for Economic Injury Disaster Loans ( EIDLs ) from the Small Business Administration ( SBA ) on behalf of multiple Camden County , Ga . , businesses . Those EIDL applications falsely claimed that Knight had a series of businesses with hundreds of thousands of dollars of gross revenue prior to the COVID - 19 pandemic . Knight admitted that those applications were fraudulent , and he admitted sending fictious documents to the SBA , including a fake tax document and an altered bank record . As a result of those fraudulent filings , Knight received $149 , 900 from the SBA on behalf of a claimed tax business , and he used a large portion of the funds to buy a Mercedes - Benz S - Class sedan . As part of his plea agreement , Knight is forfeiting the vehicle to the United States . Knight has at least three prior felony convictions for other acts of fraud . “So many businesses needed federal emergency assistance to stay afloat during the pandemic , and this defendant misdirected hundreds of thousands of dollars of that money to his own pockets , ” said Keri Farley , Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta . “Mack Knight’s actions affected every tax paying citizen , in particular those who needed help the most . The FBI will continue to make every effort to ensure federal funds are used as intended . ”The FBI investigated the case . Knight was prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U . S . Attorneys Jonathan A . Porter and E . Greg Gilluly Jr . To report a COVID - 19 - related fraud scheme or suspicious activity , contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud ( NCDF ) by calling the NCDF Hotline at 1 - 866 - 720 - 5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www . justice . gov/disaster - fraud/ncdf - disaster - complaint - form .
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