A Dallas man and the digital currency company he created are in hot water after being charged with defrauding a financial program introduced during the COVID era that was designed to keep businesses afloat.
Crypto Company Fraud Thanks to COVID
John Corbin Corona, age 35, was indicted in mid-November on counts of both money laundering and wire fraud for allegedly inflating the size of his cryptocurrency business – HODL LLC – to garner extra funds through the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) initiative.
COVID was a rough time for everyone. It was a time of shutdowns, death, job losses, bankruptcies, and just about everything else you can imagine that would cause people to lose their minds. The one good thing that came out of it was the state of the crypto space, which seemed to flourish the entire time the pandemic was occurring.
While things ultimately began on a shaky note (the prices of many mainstream digital currencies fell at first), they ultimately picked up, and mainstream tokens like BTC and ETH began to experience serious boosts to their prices that caused them to reach new all-time highs by the time 2020 was over.
Unfortunately, COVID also gave birth to new crime waves, many of which stemmed from those who thought they could take money from already suffering individuals and from government programs. Several companies sought to take advantage of the PPP loan initiative that was put in place by exaggerating their revenue. This would allow them to garner additional funds to ensure their wealth stayed strong and they could enjoy luxury lifestyles.
Corona is allegedly one of those people. U.S. Attorney for the Norther District of Texas Chad E. Meacham explained in a recent interview:
As millions of small business owners grappled with the fallout from the pandemic, this defendant raked in a couple hundred thousand bucks at his fellow citizens’ expense. The Paycheck Protection Program, funded by taxpayers, was designed to help small businesses stay afloat during the pandemic. The Justice Department will relentlessly pursue those who defrauded the PPP.
Lying to Get Money
Corona runs a company called HODL LLC. It’s alleged to have operated a bitcoin mining pool know as Bitcoin Bank America. Corona is accused of fraudulently filing for two loans through the PPP program worth a total of $413,000 together. These loans were filed under the names Blue Vine Inc. and Fund Box Inc., both of which are companies that have partnered with HODL LLC in the past.
It is alleged via court documents that Corona lied about how much money his company made in the past to get extra funds. He also greatly exaggerated the number of employees allegedly working through his company and is believed to have even submitted false IRS statements. He faces up to 20 years in prison.