Feds accuse Wellsboro man of fraud and money laundering…. theft by deception investigated in Tioga County Genesee driver and passenger hurt in one-vehicle accident… ….Senate bill will help service organizaton’s financial recovery….
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania has announced that Nicholas Perkins, age 57, of Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, was charged on June 28, 2022, by a federal grand jury with perpetrating a fraud and money laundering scheme that included approximately $420,000 in COVID-19 relief guaranteed by the Small Business Administration through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP is designed to help small businesses facing financial difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic. Funded by the March 2020 CARES Act, PPP funds are offered in forgivable loans, provided that certain criteria are met, including use of the funds for employee payroll, mortgage interest, lease, and utilities expenses. According to United States Gerard M. Karam, the indictment alleges that Perkins, the sole proprietor of Well-Versed Oilfields, LLC (“Well-Versed”), a Wellsboro-based energy industry consulting firm, took out $465,000 in PPP loans in the name of Well-Versed, and then used $420,000 of those loan proceeds to buy a beach front vacation home in Dauphin Island, Alabama. In December of 2020, Perkins then asked for loan forgiveness for these funds, declaring in his loan forgiveness application that he used the funds for eligible pay costs, such as payroll costs, business mortgage interest payments, business rent or less payments, or business utility payments, and that at least 60% of the forgiveness amount was used for payroll costs. In reality, Perkins spent over 90% of the PPP loan amounts on the beach front vacation property, intending to be used as a secondary residence and a potential rental income source. Perkins is charged with one count each of Wire Fraud, Bank Fraud, Unlawful Money Transaction, and making a False Loan Application. The case was investigated by the IRS, Criminal Investigations Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney James M. Buchanan is prosecuting the case. The maximum penalty under federal law for the most serious offenses is 30 years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
State police at Mansfield are continuing to investigate a theft by deception occurring Tuesday afternoon on Plank Road in Morris Township. No details were released but the victim is listed as a 73 year old Morris man.
A Genesee driver and his passenger were hurt in a one-vehicle accident just before midnight July 4th on Route 872 in Grove Township Cameron County. State police said Tristan Byron’s Ford F-150XLT crossed the road and struck an embankment, spun around 180 degrees before coming to rest on the southbound shoulder. Byron and Alyssa Burchell were taken by Austin Volunteer Ambulance to UPMC Cole for treatment of unknown injuries.
Senator Michele Brooks’ legislation to continue supporting local veterans’ organizations, fire departments and other service clubs is on its way to the governor’s desk for his signature.Senate Bill 1159 will extend Act 118 of 2020, which permitted service organizations to use 100% of their Small Games of Chance money to cover their general operating expenses, including rent, payroll and utilities. This extension in Act 118 expired on June 10, 2022, but Senator Brooks’ legislation will extend this allowance until December 31, 2022, in order to give these service organizations additional time to recover from the pandemic and remain a vital part of their communities.
“Many American Legions, VFWs, fire departments, Moose Lodges, and other service organizations are still struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Brooks said. “Most were forced to close their venues for more than a year, cancel their traditional patriotic ceremonies, and refrain from the fundraisers they traditionally offered, which helped to sustain their operations. The dedicated volunteers and staff who operate these clubs contribute to so many worthwhile charities in our communities, and they need and deserve our help now.”
The bill was passed by the House of Representatives last week and now heads to the governor’s desk.