Monroe Man, Michael Ansezell Tolliver Charged with Fraudulently Obtaining COVID-19 Relief Funds and Money Laundering
SHREVEPORT, LA (STL.News) A federal grand jury returned an indictment yesterday charging a Monroe, Louisiana man with fraudulently obtaining more than $1.1 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program loans, announced Acting United States Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook, and Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, along with James E. Dorsey, Special Agent in Charge of Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and Inspector General Hannibal “Mike” Ware of the Small Business Administration-Office of Inspector General (SBA-OIG).
According to the indictment, Michael Ansezell Tolliver, 56, of Monroe, submitted nine fraudulent PPP and EIDL Program loan applications on behalf of several purported companies that Tolliver owned, including Tolliver Oil & Gas Corporation of Louisiana Inc. and Tolliver Petroleum Corporation of Louisiana. According to the indictment, Tolliver falsified information in the loan applications and supporting documents, including falsely claiming that some of his businesses had over 100 employees. He also submitted falsified federal tax returns.
In total, Tolliver sought more than $7.6 million in PPP and EIDL Program loans and obtained more than $1.1 million. Tolliver then allegedly laundered and misused the loan proceeds, including by transferring the funds to personal bank accounts and purchasing cars and luxury goods.
Tolliver is charged with two counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering. A summons will be issued and he will make his initial appearance at a later date before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kayla D. McClusky of the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Louisiana. If convicted, Tolliver faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison per count of wire fraud and 10 years in prison per count of money laundering.
An indictment is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The IRS-CI and SBA-OIG are investigating the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth D. Reeg and Trial Attorney Justin M. Woodard of the Department of Justice’s Fraud Section of the Criminal Division are prosecuting the case.
The Fraud Section leads the department’s prosecution of fraud schemes that exploit the PPP. Since the PPP began, Fraud Section attorneys have prosecuted more than 100 defendants in more than 70 criminal cases. The Fraud Section has also seized more than $65 million in cash proceeds derived from fraudulently obtained PPP funds, as well as numerous real estate properties and luxury items purchased with such proceeds.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts.