Ex-Catholic Official Charged With Stealing $2.1M From COVID-19 Relief Funds to Buy Rowhouse, Yacht, Sports Car

The 41-year-old was also charged with a separate fraud scheme that accused him of defrauding the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington of $472,000

A former Catholic official from Wahington DC has been charged with fraud on Tuesday as the prosecutors claim that he received $2.1 million in federal coronavirus or COVID-19 relief loans and stole nearly $500,000 from the Archdioceses of Washington. The man then used the money to buy a million-dollar rowhouse, a sports car, and a yacht, as reported by the Washington Blade.

Prosecutors of the U.S. Attorney's Office mentioned that the man named Kenneth Gaughan falsified the paperwork and the other bank records for receiving the fund. The prosecutors stated the Gaughan applied to Small Business Administration lenders under the companies that register emotional support animals, getting $2.1 million from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and other Economic Injury Disaster Loans.

Gaughan Bought Million-Dollar Rowhouse

Sports car
Representational Image

The 41-year-old then made use of the money to buy a $1.13 million rowhouse located in Northeast DC, a yacht worth $300,000 and a sports car costing $46,000. "We will not tolerate the exploitation of this national emergency for personal gain," the Acting U.S. Attorney Michael R. Sherwin mentioned in a release. "This Office will not allow fraudsters to steal taxpayer money intended to help small businesses that are currently struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic."

He was also charged with a separate fraud scheme that accused him of defrauding the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington of $472,000 when he was an assistant superintendent at the Hyattsville location. The 12-count indictment also alleges that between June 2010 to April 2018, Gaughan has faked invoices for "anti-bullying, crisis intervention, and professional development programs at the approximately 95 Catholic schools overseen by ADW, located in Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George's, and St. Mary's Counties in Maryland, and Washington, D.C," as per reports.

He would have the archdiocese pay the companies for the services that were not even given and did not acknowledge that he was the owner and the controller of the three companies. FBI Special Agent in Charge Jennifer Boone mentioned that the man has a history of deception.

"Mr. Gaughan was so emboldened by deceiving a church for eight years he then, allegedly, turned his deception to the government. Stealing funds that were meant to be a lifeline for struggling businesses during an unprecedented economic downturn, and greedily using them to satisfy his own materialistic desires," Boone mentioned.

Related topics : Coronavirus