Massachusetts Man Pleads Guilty In Pandemic Loan Fraud Case

BOSTON (AP) — A Massachusetts man who lied on his application for federal coronavirus business stimulus funds and then used some of the $400,000 he received to pay his mortgage has pleaded guilty to wire fraud, federal prosecutors said.

Adley Bernadin, 44, of Stoughton, entered his plea in U.S. District Court in Boston on Wednesday, according to a statement from the office of U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins.

Bernadin in May 2020 submitted a fraudulent application on behalf of a purported home health care company for a Paycheck Protection Program loan of about $400,000, falsifying a tax form and falsely claiming the business had a monthly payroll of $175,200, prosecutors said.

The program, enacted as part of the CARES Act in March 2020 to provide emergency financial assistance to Americans suffering economically from the effects COVID-19 pandemic, provided forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and certain other approved expenses.

Bernadin used the funds to make mortgage payments on his home and wrote checks to people he knew, including $135,000 to someone described by prosecutors as his wife or partner, authorities said.

Bernadin, who was arrested in March, faces up to 20 years in prison at sentencing scheduled for Sept. 28.

The U.S. Secret Service reported in December that nearly $100 billion at minimum has been stolen from federal COVID-19 relief programs set up to help businesses and people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic.