HENRICO, Va. (WRIC) — A Henrico man is charged with defrauding the federal government to the tune of $1.1 million dollars by using two shell companies to draw on COVID relief funds intended to pay workers’ salaries.
Kortney Kelley faces three charges of wire fraud and two lesser charges, according to an indictment filed in the Federal District Court of Eastern Virginia.
OpenCorporates shows that Kelley is listed as the registered agent of two companies in Virginia, IntelliNest Solutions, incorporated in 2019, and Focused Resources, incorporated in 2018.
U.S. attorneys claim that since at least April 2020, both companies “had no legitimate business activity and [were] not a going business concern.”
That apparently didn’t stop Kelley, who applied for risk-free loans from the government for both businesses after the CARES Act went into effect.
A ProPublica dataset shows that during the first round of funding for the “Paycheck Protection Program,” designed to give businesses loans for the sole purpose of covering payroll costs, Kelley applied through both companies. The first loan, for Focused Resources, totaled $114,560. Then, Kelley returned, netting another $457,082 for IntelliNest Solutions.
A few months later, Kelley went back for round two, receiving the same amount for both companies, bringing his total loans to $1.1 million.
By the end of 2021, all four of those loans had been forgiven — meaning Kelley never had to pay back a single cent.
According to the indictment, Kelley claimed during his first-round applications that he employed 24 people across the two companies. During the same period, he claimed his combined monthly payroll was $217,824. That means he would have paid every employee a whopping $9,076 a month on average.
By the time the second round arrived, he wrote that the companies had a combined payroll of 143 employees, making the average a more modest $1,599 a month.
But read on before you ready your resume to apply — according to prosecutors, Kelley never had a single employee at either company. Instead, he deposited the money directly into his own checking account and into an account with stock-trading app Robinhood.
Kelley faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count of wire fraud, plus up to 10 years for each of the two lesser counts.
If convicted, Kelley will also be forced to hand over all proceeds from the PPP loan, including any gains he might have made playing the stock market.