By Lukas I. Alpert
Why let a little fraud conviction get in the way?
A Brooklyn personal trainer has been charged with trying to steal $7 million in COVID-19 relief while he awaited trial in a separate bank-loan case, prosecutors said.
Investigators say that starting in August 2020, Adedayo Ilori, 42, and co-conspirator, Chris Recamier, 58, submitted numerous fraudulent applications for government-backed loans for small businesses they didn’t actually own.
The scheme got underway just six months after Ilori had been indicted with several other defendants in a separate loan-fraud case. Ilori pleaded guilty in that case in April, and while he was awaiting sentencing, prosecutors say he continued making bogus COVID-19 relief claims.
“As alleged, Adedayo Ilori has made quite a habit of committing loan fraud,” said Damian Willaims, the U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York.
An attorney who represented Adedayo in the bank-loan case said she was not representing him in the COVID-19 relief fraud case and couldn’t comment. She said Adedayo had been arrested several weeks ago for violating the conditions of his bail in the loan-fraud case, but that a new attorney hadn’t yet been assigned for the new indictment which was unsealed on Wednesday.
In court papers, Adedayo said he had gotten involved in the bank-loan fraud scheme through a friend after his personal-training business, called DFine by Dayo Ilori, suffered due to the coronavirus pandemic and him contracting the virus.
A message left for an attorney for Recamier wasn’t immediately returned.
Prosecutors say Ilori and Recamier had filed for loans through the paycheck protection program and emergency impact disaster loans for several businesses, claiming they employed more than 200 people and had a monthly payroll of $3.2 million.
But according to court filings, the two men didn’t actually own the companies, and allegedly used stolen identities and falsified tax documents to make their claims.
In all, the men are accused of submitting claims for $7.5 million in relief money and receiving over $1 million. Prosecutors say the men used the money to buy cryptocurrency and stocks and to cover personal expenses.
In the prior loan fraud case, Ilori and his co-conspirators, who were bank employees, were accused of using stolen identities and doctored bank statements to apply for $1.2 million in small business loans for phony companies. The plan was that they would pocket the cash and walk away from the loans, but they were caught when an informant tipped off the FBI.