Michigan man pleads guilty after using COVID-19 relief money to pay for BMW convertible, wedding expenses: DOJ

A Michigan man plead guilty to several financial charges after he obtained $170,000 in Paycheck Protection Program loans and used the money to buy a BMW convertible along with other personal expenses such as a wedding, the Department of Justice announced on Friday.

Kurtis James VanderMolen, 50, submitted Paycheck Protection Program loan applications for Breakout Strategies Corporation, according to the Justice Department, which it says is a fake company.

A press release on Friday states that VanderMolen submitted his first PPP loan application in July 2020 for the fake company based out of New Jersey, stating that the company had 11 employees. VanderMolen is also accused of sending fake payroll records and bank records while attempting to prove the business was real.

VanderMolen received $100,641 in the first PPP loan which was used to buy a BMW 650i convertible as well as other personal expenses, according to the press release.

SBA DOLED OUT $684M IN PPP LOANS TO ‘POTENTIALLY INELIGIBLE’ NONPROFITS

BMW 650i picture

2012 BMW 650i xDrive Coupe Saturday, June 9, 2012. Staff Photo by Arthur Pollock. (Photo by Arthur Pollock/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images / Getty Images)

He applied for a second PPP loan in February 2021 after running out of money from the first, and submitted falsified records again, which the Department of Justice says resulted in $69,361 being issued.

Officials allege that the money from the second PPP loan was also used for personal expenses, including his wedding “aboard a boat in Florida.”

COVID-19 RELIEF FRAUD LED TO BILLIONS IN TAXPAYER-FUNDED PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM LOANS LOST

VanderMolen pleaded guilty to bank fraud and money laundering.

U.S. Attorney Mark Totten, who announced the guilty plea, said that the COVID-19 relief funding was meant to help small businesses.

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“This was federal aid that was intended to support our country’s critical small businesses, not to buy luxury cars or pay for wedding expenses,” Totten said.

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