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Couple suspected of coronavirus relief fraud caught fleeing the country

Lucas Manfredi

A Virginia couple has been arrested for allegedly submitting false loan applications under the Paycheck Protection Program which resulted in a payout of more than $1.4 million in coronavirus relief.

According to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, Monica Magdalena Jaworska, 43, and her husband, Tarik Jaafar, 42, were arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport while attempting to flee to Poland.

Jaworska made an initial appearance in federal court last week for accusations of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

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The couple is accused of submitting 18 PPP loan applications between April and May 2020 containing false statements to twelve financial institutions, according to court documents.

Prosecutors said the couple used fraudulent IRS forms to indicate they were supporting dozens of employees, but an investigation by the Small Business Administration found that the forms didn't exist.

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As a result of the false statements, three financial institutions disbursed four loans totaling $1,438,500. While some funds were frozen, prosecutors said Jaafar was able to withdraw at least $30,000 in cash.

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If convicted, Jaworska and Jaafar each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

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