Home / Lehigh Acres couple indicted for COVID-19 relief fraud

Lehigh Acres couple indicted for COVID-19 relief fraud

Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:
Judge gavel. (Credit: CBS News)
Credit: CBS News

Both partners in a married couple from Lehigh Acres have been indicted for charges of committing COVID-19 relief fraud.

Amber Rewis Bruey, 34, and Anthony James Bruey, 35, face multiple charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and illegal monetary transactions. The indictment documents say the Brueys will be forced to forfeit a 2019 GMC Yukon XL, a 2021 Chevrolet Spark LS, a 2020 Honda Talon, a 2020 Polaris RZR, real property in North Carolina and $881,058.35, which are alleged to be traceable to proceeds of the offense.

According to the indictment, beginning in or around April 2020, and while they were both on probation for state criminal charges, the Brueys conspired to submit false and fraudulent Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Paycheck Protection Program applications to the Small Business Administration and PPP loan servicers and lenders. The loan applications contained numerous false representations, including the criminal history, dates of operation, number of employees and gross revenues of the applicants. In support of their fraudulent EIDL and PPP loan applications, the Brueys fabricated federal income tax documents.

The SBA and PPP lenders approved and funded six EIDL and six PPP loans, totaling $881,058.35, for the Brueys, who then used the funds to purchase a $211,457 residence in North Carolina, a 2019 GMC Yukon SUV, a 2020 Honda Talon and to make a $23,566 restitution payment as a condition of probation in a criminal court case for Amber Bruey.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.