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Man given nearly 5 years in prison for COVID-19 relief fraud

Posted at 8:17 AM, Jun 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-03 12:03:24-04

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A Pewaukee businessman has been sentenced to nearly five years in prison for fraudulently obtaining more than $1 million in federal coronavirus relief funding meant for struggling businesses.

Prosecutors say 47-year-old Thomas Smith involved seven other people, including his brother, in a scheme to get federal funding for phantom companies.

U.S. District Judge Brett Ludwig told Smith Wednesday that he hopes a 57-month prison sentence and two years of supervision would let him get back on track as a contributing member of society.

Ludwig also ordered Smith to repay the money he obtained through the federal Paycheck Protection Program, which offered businesses forgivable loans if used for payroll, rent and other specific expenses.

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