2 Former Howell Residents Accused of Stealing $3.75 Million of Covid Funds

Two former residents of Howell who allegedly obtained approximately $3.75 million in federal pandemic-related loans have been indicted, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.

Jean Rabbitt, 52, and Kevin Aguilar, 52, both now of Sherman, Texas, are each charged by indictment with: one count of conspiracy to engage bank fraud; seven counts of bank fraud; one count of conspiracy to engage in wire fraud; three counts of wire fraud; conspiracy to engage in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity and one count of engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity; and one count of aggravated identity theft. Rabbitt is additionally charged with one count of making a false statement in a loan application.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is a federal law enacted on March 29, 2020, to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief provided by the CARES Act was the authorization of up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and certain other expenses, through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

Rabbitt and Aguilar submitted seven fraudulent PPP loan applications on behalf of four businesses that Rabbitt owned or controlled. Rabbitt and Aguilar made multiple false statements in their PPP applications, at least one of which was submitted to a Federal Home Loan Bank member. The lenders approved PPP loans totaling $3.33 million, and transmitted those funds to Rabbitt’s businesses. Rabbitt and Aguilar also submitted fraudulent applications to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) under the federal Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Based on false statements in those applications, the SBA approved EIDLs to three of Rabbitt’s businesses, totaling approximately $447,000.

After receiving the PPP and EIDL funds, Rabbitt and Aguilar transferred those funds to other businesses that Aguilar created to give the false appearance that the PPP and EIDL funds were being used for legitimate purposes. Aguilar and Rabbitt then used the PPP and EIDL funds for personal expenses.

Rabbitt and Aguilar also engaged in identity theft, by submitting an EIDL application using the name and identifying information of an individual who did not authorize the use of that information.

Rabbitt is also charged with making a false statement on a loan application, including with respect to her gross monthly income, in order to obtain financing to purchase a new truck from a Monmouth County car dealership.

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