August 11, 2022


Business Activity

A Shady Realty Firm Could Have Scammed $287K in COVID Help

Picture: Colorblind Photographs LLC/Getty Pictures

Final calendar 12 months, Jamie Burke appeared to be one of many tens of hundreds of New Yorkers decided for COVID assist funds. She owns a modest true property group, Rojo Realty, in St. Albans, out on the suburban fringe of Queens, and said on a federal Paycheck Protection Methodology software program that she wanted allow to make the month-to-month payroll of $55,000 for her ten personnel. It seemed like simply the number of situation that PPP loans have been supposed for: a small enterprise enterprise that crucial a small help to stay afloat. Burke’s software was permitted, and she or he was given $137,000. However Burke didn’t pay again any salaries, in accordance to the Queens District Lawyer. The truth is, judging by the corporate’s one-web web page web site that options little information in regards to the enterprise and virtually nothing about these individuals who get the job performed there, Burke could nicely not have any staff — or any small enterprise — in any respect. A feminine who picked up on the quantity outlined on Rojo’s spare web site (energetic listings: zero) insisted that it was the wrong vary and that they’ve completely nothing to do with the agency instead of an workplace constructing for the agency’s personnel to carry out out of, the deal with listed on the mortgage software is for a tudor-style purple brick property.

On Wednesday, the 59-year-aged grew to develop into the most popular New Yorker to be slapped with legal charges — in her circumstance, grand larceny and submitting false paperwork — for allegedly bilking COVID reduction funds. However Burke didn’t simply try to juice the PPP software — she additionally allegedly utilized Rojo Realty to get a unique $150,000 financial institution mortgage through the town’s Smaller Small enterprise Administration. In that software, she reported that the company had a dozen workers, and claimed the “present monetary uncertainty” produced the mortgage ask for important to maintain the enterprise enterprise heading. Burke even out there that within the earlier 12 months Rojo skilled gained $890,500, nonetheless the corporate’s site doesn’t checklist a single shut deal. In accordance to the Queens DA, Burke allegedly gambled a lot of the funds absent at casinos in New York and New Jersey.

Investigators reviewed Burke’s lender paperwork and say her statements exhibit that not solely did she fail to spend that funds on supporting her supposed employees and enterprise, however $80,000 of the $287,000 in loans was put in inserting bets. (Burke’s lawyer skilled no comment.) She accredited that the knowledge and info she supplied in monetary mortgage functions is “true and correct,” and if unfaithful could possibly be punishable anyplace from 5 to 30 a few years in jail. However Queens prosecutors say Burke most probably faces as much as 15 a very long time in jail if convicted.