TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A 34-year-old Tampa man was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for making “extravagant” purchases with $150,000 in fraudulently obtained COVID-19 funds.
Jorge Gutierrez Echeverria, 34, of Tampa, was sentenced to two years and six months behind bars for wire fraud in connection to his fraudulent receipt of COVID-19 funds, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.
According to court documents, Gutierrez Echeverria made false and fraudulent claims in a July 2020 federal application for COVID-19 funds that he was the sole proprietor of a business suffering from the economic impacts of the pandemic.
However, authorities learned Gutierrez Echeverria did not own a business at all.
Authorities said Gutierrez Echeverria also lied that he had no felony convictions when in fact he had two.
As a result of his false application, Gutierrez Echeverria was awarded a $149,900 loan which authorities said he spent on “extravagant personal expenses.”
Gutierrez Echeverria pleaded guilty on Aug. 11, 2022, and was ordered to forfeit the fraudulent funds.
“The Secret Service remains committed to holding individuals accountable that attempt to exploit taxpayer-funded pandemic relief programs,” said Special Agent in Charge Robert Engel of the United States Secret Service – Tampa Field Office.