St. Albans lawyer accused of using COVID-19 relief funds to pay off gambling debts: DA – QNS.com
A St. Albans lawyer has been charged with stealing more than a quarter of a million dollars in COVID-19 relief funds from federal agencies, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.
Jamie Burke, 59, of Leslie Road, was arraigned Thursday December 16 before Queens Criminal Court Judge Denise Johnson on a complaint accusing him of two counts of robbery and one count of offering of a bogus instrument for filing for allegedly lying about Federal Paycheck Protection Payment and Small Business Administration loan applications to acquire funds to help business owners pay their employees during the pandemic.
“Ms. Burke used her knowledge and legal expertise to deceive the US government and steal funds destined for struggling businesses at the height of the pandemic,” said US Postal Inspector in charge Philip R . Bartlett. “His actions are reprehensible and disgraceful to a member of the New York Bar.”
According to the charges, on August 17, 2020, Burke signed a PPP loan application stating that she was the sole owner of Rojo Realty in St. Albans. She reportedly stated on the loan application that she had 10 employees with a monthly payroll of $ 55,000. Her loan application was approved and on August 19, a check for $ 137,500 was deposited into her business account held at Capital One Bank.
Katz said the defendant also previously applied for a loan under the SBA’s Economic Damage Disaster Program on August 9, 2020. On that request, Burke allegedly said the real estate company had gross income. totaling $ 890,500 for the previous 12 months and claimed to have 12 employees. On August 11, 2020, an SBA check in the total amount of $ 149,900 was deposited into the same corporate account at Capital One Bank.
According to the charges, Burke received a total of $ 287,400 in loans.
The requests she submitted specifically stipulated that the borrowed funds were to be used for running the business, retaining workers, payroll, and / or making mortgage, rental and utility payments for the company. business. However, records would show that Burke used most of the funds for personal expenses, including spending $ 80,000 to place bets at gambling establishments.
“This defendant is a member of the bar and has taken an oath to uphold the law. Unfortunately, she is now accused of defrauding over $ 280,000 in PPP and SBA loans to line her pockets, ”Katz said. “These programs were created to help struggling business owners stay afloat and their workers to work during this unprecedented time. This defendant now faces very serious charges for her alleged actions. I would like to thank my law enforcement counterparts for their efforts in this matter. “
Judge Johnson ordered the accused to return to court on February 9. If convicted, Burke faces up to 15 years in prison.