Bay Area/ Oakland/ Crime & Emergencies
AI Assisted Icon
Published on May 25, 2024
El Sobrante Man Indicted on Fraud Charges for Allegedly Embezzling $1.1 Million in COVID-19 Relief FundsSource: Google Street View

An El Sobrante man is facing stiff penalties after a federal grand jury charged him with swindling over $1.1 million in COVID-19 relief funds, which were earmarked to help struggling businesses stay afloat during the pandemic.

Brian Jenkins, 53, was pegged with multiple counts of wire fraud and other offenses after investigators claim he made off with Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) monies, intended as a lifeline to businesses during the economic turmoil triggered by the coronavirus outbreak, using these funds to pad his own pockets and settle personal debts.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Jenkins fabricated the existence of dozens of employees and a significant payroll for his company, A&L Investments LLC. Authorities explained that the company was actually a business without payroll or employees. Jenkins' deceit netted him a cool million in PPP loans just last year.

This act of fraudulence wasn't Jenkins' first rodeo. The indictment outlines a meticulously drafted ploy where Jenkins had previously finagled nearly $95,000 in EIDL funds by falsely claiming his phantom cleaning operation had ten workers on the books and was pulling in more than $200k in annual revenue when, in fact, it was a ghost enterprise with neither an employee nor a dime in revenues, money he instead used for self-indulgence.

If convicted, Jenkins could face up to 20 years in the slammer for each wire fraud count and another five years for lying to the government. "An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt," said the Department of Justice. Meanwhile, Jenkins has yet to have his day in court to respond to these charges. The case has been picked up by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Chambers, with the FBI and SBA-OIG untangling the web of deceit laid by Jenkins.