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Miami man spent over $4 million in COVID-19 relief loans and grants to fund an extravagant lifestyle; sentenced to nearly 6 years in federal prison


Miami, Florida – A U.S. District Judge handed down a 71-month federal prison term earlier this week, on March 7, to a 39-year-old Miami resident, Andre Lorquet.

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This sentence was for his role in fraudulently obtaining COVID-19 relief loans and grants through various programs designed to support businesses during the pandemic. The programs targeted were the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the Economic Injury Disaster Relief Program (EIDL), and the Shuttered Venue Operator Grant (SVOG).

A Scheme Unveiled

Court records reveal Lorquet’s audacious attempt to exploit these relief efforts, where he sought over $4.7 million by submitting fraudulent applications. In these applications, he grossly misrepresented his revenue and payroll figures, along with submitting fake IRS tax forms to support his claims.

The scam proved momentarily successful, netting Lorquet around $4.4 million in relief funds. However, instead of using these funds for their intended purpose, Lorquet diverted them to fund an extravagant lifestyle. His purchases included two Tesla S models, a Lamborghini Urus, a Porsche Panamera GTS, and an array of luxury items. Among these were a diamond-encrusted Audemars Piguet watch, a rose gold and diamond pendant featuring his company’s logo, a half-kilogram gold chain adorned with 70 carats of diamonds, and a 1-kilogram gold chain.

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Lorquet’s guilty plea to money laundering charges led to his sentencing by U.S. District Judge Michael K. Moore. The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida and Special Agent in Charge Anthony Salisbury of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Miami. The case, which highlights the diligent efforts to protect COVID-relief efforts from exploitation, was thoroughly investigated by HSI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Bailyn prosecuted the case, with Assistant United States Attorney G. Raemy Charest-Turken managing asset forfeiture.

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