7-year sentence ordered in $1.4M COVID-19 relief fraud

December 21, 2022 GMT

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan man has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison for his role in fraudulently obtaining more than in $1.4 million in federal COVID-19 relief money.

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the sentence against 47-year-old Jemar Mason of Grand Rapids, who pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Mason was among four people, including a former Georgia police officer, in a group that prepared fraudulent applications for federal Paycheck Protection Program loans in 2020 for companies that did not have legitimate customers or employees, according to prosecutors.

Western Michigan U.S. Attorney Mark Totten said in a statement that Mason saw the COVID-19 pandemic “as an opportunity to get rich quick” with money intended to keep people from losing their jobs.

The four other people indicted with Mason in the scheme have been convicted on federal charges. That includes former Clayton County, Georgia, police officer Andre Jackson, who is scheduled to be sentenced in February.