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Arroyo Grande man faces federal charges for using stolen identities to obtain more than $1.5 million in COVID-19 relief loans

PORTLAND, Ore. – An Arroyo Grande real estate developer was charged in federal court for using stolen identities to obtain more than $1.5 million in small business COVID-19 pandemic relief loans, the U.S. Attorney's District of Oregon Office announced on Thursday.

Alfred Nevis, 52, was charged with wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Nevis allegedly used the identities of multiple people he knew – including current and former employees, business associates, and their spouses – to illegally obtain Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) administered by the Small Business Association, according to court documents from April 1, 2020 through at least Aug. 6, 2020.

The EIDL program enabled the Small Business Association to issue low-interest loans to small businesses adversely impacted by the pandemic, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Nevis used the stolen identities to register straw corporations, obtain Employer Identification Numbers from the IRS, and submit loan applications to the Small Business Association on behalf of the newly-registered corporations, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

"In one instance, Nevis claimed a straw corporation called Isley Farms, registered in Oregon, had 12 employees and generated more than $725,000 in revenue in a 12-month period ending in January 2020," the office added.

Nevis submitted at least 12 EIDL applications using the identities of at least eight individuals without their knowledge or permission between April 1, 2020 and July 23, 2020 – totaling nearly $1.4 million in fraudulent loan disbursements.

Then, the Small Business Association approved one final EIDL for $150,000 in August 2020, bringing the total of fraudulent loans to $1.5 million.

The U.S. Attorney's Office claimed that Nevis is furtheralleged to have laundered at least $160,000 of his fraudulent obtaining.

Nevis appeared in federal court on Thursday and pleaded not guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jolie A. Russo. He was released pending a three-day jury trial scheduled to start on Aug. 2.

He faces a maximum sentence of 32 years in prison, up to $500,000 in fines, and three years of supervised release.

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Jade Martinez-Pogue

Jade Martinez-Pogue is the Assignment Editor and web journalist at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Jade, click here

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