By KAREN VELIE
Federal agents arrested an Arroyo Grande real estate developer in Oregon on Wednesday for allegedly conducting a scheme to fraudulently obtain more than $1.5 million in loans intended to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A federal indictment charges Alfred Edward Nevis, 52, with wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering. From April 1, 2020 through Aug, 6, 2020, Nevis allegedly used the identities of multiple acquaintances—including current and former employees, business associates, and their spouses—to illegally obtain Small Business Administration’s economic injury disaster loans.
Nevis used the stolen identities to register straw corporations, obtain employer identification numbers from the IRS, and submit loan applications on behalf of the newly-registered corporations. In one instance, Nevis claimed a straw corporation called Isley Farms had 12 employees and generated more than $725,000 in revenue in 2019.
Between April 1, 2020 and July 23, 2020, Nevis submitted at least 12 loan applications using the identities of at least eight individuals without their knowledge or permission. Together, these applications generated nearly $1.4 million in fraudulent loan disbursements.
A final loan for $150,000 was approved in Aug. 2020, bringing Nevis’ total fraud proceeds to more than $1.5 million. Nevis is further alleged to have laundered at least $160,000 of his ill-gotten gains.
During his arraignment on Thursday, Nevis pleaded not guilty. He was later released from the Multnomah County Jail pending a three-day jury trial scheduled to begin on Aug. 2.
Nevis faces a maximum sentence of 32 years in prison, fines of up to $500,000, and three years’ supervised release.