CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK)– A Kanawha County man pleaded guilty to wire fraud on Tuesday for stealing over $16,000 in COVID-19 relief funds.
According to the Department of Justice, Calvin Butler, 24, of Dunbar, West Virginia defrauded the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) out of $16,040 worth of loans. Authorities say Butler gave his personal information to someone on Instagram who offered to apply for the PPP loan on his behalf in exchange for $2,000.
Court documents say that on April 25, 2021, Butler admitted that he knew he wasn’t eligible for the loan but went along with the scheme anyway. The PPP application was submitted electronically from a financial institution in Tennesee to Butler’s account in West Virginia on June 7, 2021. The DOJ says that Butler also admitted to withdrawing $15,000 and spending it on himself.
Butler pleaded guilty to wire fraud and faces up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. He also owes $18,540 in restitution and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 18.