Former Mississippi police officer pleads guilty to defrauding government more than $70,000 in COVID funds
Published 9:22 am Tuesday, October 17, 2023
A Jackson man pleaded guilty to wire fraud in connection with his submission of a false COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan application.
According to court documents, Wesley Murray Sr., 54, submitted to the United States Small Business Association a false EIDL application containing material misrepresentations.
In reliance on his certification that he would use the EIDL funds for business purposes, the SBA awarded Murray approximately $72,400 in COVID-19 relief funds. A former Jackson police officer, Murray acknowledged that he used these funds for purely personal expenses.
According to his plea agreement with the United States, Murray agreed to make full restitution to the SBA.
Murray is scheduled to be sentenced on January 10, 2024, and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. A federal district judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
U.S. Attorney Todd W. Gee of the Southern District of Mississippi and Acting Inspector General Stephen Ravas of the AmeriCorps Office of Inspector General made the announcement.
The AmeriCorps Office of Inspector General investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorney Kimberly T. Purdie is prosecuting the case.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across the government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts.
For more information on the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.