A San Antonio man is facing multiple charges related to wire fraud and money laundering, according to an indictment returned by a federal grand jury. James Michael Bergeron, 42, is accused of devising a scheme to obtain funds under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), which were created to provide relief to small business owners during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The indictment alleges that Bergeron misrepresented the number of employees and the average monthly payroll of the entities he controlled in order to secure funds from the PPP and RRF. He is also accused of providing false information about the annual revenue of one of these entities to obtain money from the RRF. As a result of these misrepresentations, Bergeron allegedly received millions of dollars, which he spent on unauthorized items such as real estate, vehicles, and retail investment products.
Bergeron is facing eleven counts, including wire fraud, false statement, monetary transactions with criminally derived proceeds, and money laundering. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to thirty years in prison. The case is being investigated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General and the IRS Criminal Investigation.
The announcement of the indictment was made by U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza of the Western District of Texas. The case will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Justin Simmons and Bill Harris from the Western District of Texas, along with Trial Attorney Ariel Glasner from the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division, Fraud Section.
It is important to note that an indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The court will consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors in determining the defendant’s sentence.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is wire fraud?
Wire fraud refers to the use of electronic communication, such as phone calls or emails, to deceive and defraud others for financial gain.
2. What is money laundering?
Money laundering is the process of making illegally obtained money appear legal by disguising its true source.
3. What is the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF)?
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) were government programs established during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide financial relief to small businesses.
4. How long could James Michael Bergeron be sentenced if convicted?
If convicted, James Michael Bergeron could face a maximum prison sentence of thirty years. However, the actual sentence will be determined by a federal district court judge considering various factors.
5. What agencies are investigating the case?
The case is being investigated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General and the IRS Criminal Investigation.