October 17, 2023

Former Jackson Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Submitting False Covid-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Application

Morgan Howard

A Jackson man pleaded guilty to wire fraud in connection with his submission of a false COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) application.

According to court documents, 54-year-old Wesley Murray, Sr., submitted to the United States Small Business Association (“SBA”) 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. Murray acknowledged that he used these funds for purely personal expenses.  Pursuant to the terms of 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 case was investigated by the AmeriCorps Office of Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kimberly T. Purdie.

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 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.

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