Florida police department worker gets 60 days for COVID relief fraud

Author: AP

A former civilian employee for a South Florida police department has been sentenced to 60 days in federal prison for stealing more than $117,000 in COVID relief funds.

Elisa Rivera, 51, was sentenced Wednesday in Miami federal court, according to court records. She pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Rivera had been working as an administrative officer for the Miami-Dade Police Department when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. in 2020. Despite suffering no loss of salary, Rivera authorized a co-conspirator to electronically submit an Economic Injury Disaster Loan application to the Small Business Administration, according to a criminal complaint.

The application falsely stated that Rivera owned a business that had gross revenues of $325,446 and 12 employees in the 12 months prior to Jan. 31, 2020, prosecutors said. Rivera received $71,300 from the SBA in loans and grants.

After submitting her own application, Rivera submitted fraudulent EIDL applications to the SBA on behalf of others who also didn’t own small businesses or qualify for relief, officials said.

Rivera has already paid back the money she fraudulently obtained from the government. She must surrender to the Bureau of Prisons by Nov. 4.

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