MIAMI (WFLA) — A Florida attorney was sentenced to over three years in prison Wednesday after stealing $1.6 million in COVID-19 relief fraud.
The U.S. Department of Justice said attorney Derek James Acree, 47, of Palm Beach County got the $1.6 million by falsely applying for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for companies that he owned or partially owned.
These companies were National Financial Holdings Inc., NFH Florida LLC, DBA Finova Financial LLC, and National Financial Holding Technology LLC.
A release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Florida said Acree’s loan applications misrepresented the number of employees, payroll expenses, and the revenue of these companies.
“After obtaining the fraudulent loan proceeds, Acree transferred some of it to others and a portion was used as a down payment for the purchase of his home, as well as used to purchase jewelry, travel, and make repairs on his boat/home,” the release said.
Acree pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in October 2022. On Jan. 4, 2023, he was sentenced to 41 months in prison and ordered to pay $1.26 million in restitution and $1.6 million in asset forfeiture.