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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 part of the $400,000 he received to pay his mortgage has pleaded guilty to wire fraud , said federal prosecutors.

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

Bernadin in May 2020 submitted a fraudulent application on behalf of an alleged home health care company for a Paycheck Protection Program loan of approximately $400,000, falsifying a tax form and falsely claiming that the The company 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 of the COVID-19 pandemic, provided forgivable loans to small businesses to maintain the employment 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.

Bernardin, who was arrested in March, faces up to 20 years in prison when sentencing is scheduled for September 28.

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