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EHT man admits to defrauding PPP of $1.3M

  • Crime Courts

An Egg Harbor Township man pleaded guilty to defrauding the government out of more than $1.3 million in funds meant to help small businesses.

Jeremy Earley, 41, pleaded guilty in federal court to engaging in a monetary transaction in criminally derived property, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger said. The count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

The case involved fraudulent applications for the Paycheck Protection Program on behalf of two companies owned by Earley.

His co-defendant, Rhonda Thomas, filed the paperwork on behalf of the businesses, attaching paperwork that showed dozens of employees and hundreds of thousands of dollars spent monthly on payroll.

But it was all a lie.

The D2R Agency had 17 employees and paid out more than $1.7 million in payroll for 2019, according to IRS paperwork Thomas attached to the approved application for $362,500.

The agency really had just one employee paid minimum wage, the complaint states.

Earley got the money in 2020, and then wrote a check to Thomas for $108,750.

The next year, Thomas again applied for a loan on behalf of another Earley-owned company, More Life Records, with an address in the 2700 block of Fire Road.

This time she wrote that the company paid out $382,400 a month in payroll to 46 employees. The accompanying 2019 IRS filing claimed nearly $4.6 million paid out in wages.

But that company had no employees and paid out nothing, the complaint states.

After Earley received that check for $956,250, and then sent three checks to Thomas totaling $286,875.

Thomas previously pleaded guilty to bank fraud conspiracy and money launder. She was sentenced to five years in prison.

The charge of money laundering carries a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.

Earley's sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 13.


Lynda Cohen

Lynda Cohen founded BreakingAC after working as a local newspaper reporter for more than two decades. She is an NJPA award-winner and was a Stories of Atlantic City fellow.

Sunday, June 16, 2024
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