2 Mississippi businessmen indicted in pandemic fraud case

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Two Mississippi businessmen, together with one who served on the governor’s financial restoration advisory fee, have been indicted on costs linked to the fraudulent receipt of greater than $2 million in pandemic aid cash, prosecutors mentioned Friday.

A federal grand jury in Oxford issued indictments Wednesday of Columbus residents Jabari Ogbanna Edwards, 49, and Antwann Richardson, 37.

Edwards and Richardson are charged with cash laundering, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, based on Clay Joyner, U.S. lawyer for northern Mississippi. Edwards is also charged with making a false assertion.

Federal courtroom information on Friday didn’t listing any attorneys for Edwards or Richardson.

U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock on Friday ordered the 2 males to not promote, switch or give away belongings linked to the case, courtroom information present.

In April 2020, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves appointed Edwards as certainly one of a number of members of Restart Mississippi, a fee to advise him on restarting Mississippi’s financial system as COVID-19 circumstances started spreading within the state and across the nation.

Edwards and Richardson utilized for and obtained cash from the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program for the now-defunct enterprise North Atlantic Security, based on courtroom paperwork.

An indictment says North Atlantic Security obtained greater than $500,000 from the Paycheck Protection Program about one month earlier than it offered its contracts and belongings to American Sentry Security Services.

North Atlantic Security stopped doing enterprise in March 2021, nevertheless it utilized for and obtained greater than $1.8 million in Economic Injury Disaster Loan funds in October and November of that yr, the indictment says.

Federal prosecutors allege that Edwards and Richardson laundered the cash by their different companies, together with J5 Solutions, Edwards Enterprises, J5 GBL, BH Properties and The Bridge Group. The information launch from Joyner mentioned the boys used the cash for unauthorized bills, together with private actual property transactions, political contributions, charitable donations, mortgage funds for autos, funds to mates, household and workers of their different firms and the acquisition of Court Square Towers in Columbus.

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