Legal Issues

Hollywood Man Arrested For $65 Million COVID-19 Fraud

Hollywood Man Arrested For $65 Million COVID-19 Fraud

A Hollywood, California man has been arrested after being indicted on charges involving a $65 million COVID-19 fraud scam.

According to an official release from the IRS, Kevin J. Gregory falsely claimed on IRS forms that his nonexistent farming business was eligible for COVID-19-related tax credits. Gregory was charged on 17 counts of making false claims to the IRS following a federal grand jury indictment. 

He was taken into custody by IRS Criminal Investigation agents on May 25.

Credit: Choochart Choochaikupt/EyeEm/Getty Images

As previously noted, Gregory's crimes involved pandemic relief funds made available by the federal government at the height of the COVID-19 virus. Specifically, Gregory falsely claimed the employee retention tax credit (ERTC), which allowed eligible small businesses to reduce employment taxes if they maintained staff throughout the pandemic. 

Additionally, Congress also approved the IRS to give a pandemic-era tax credit to reimburse businesses for wages paid to employees who were either sick themselves or caring for ailing family members who had COVID-19. This "paid sick and family leave credit" was designated to be equal to the wages the business paid up to a specific threshold.

According to court records obtained by the IRS, between November 2020 and April 2022, Gregory made fraudulently attempted to claim $65.4 million in the aforementioned federal tax refunds from the IRS. He asserted that he owned a Beverly Hills-based farming-and-transportation company called Elijah USA Farm Holdings.

Photographer: Steve Satushek/Getty Images

This company, however, never actually existed.

The IRS approved over $2.7 million of the refunds Gregory claimed. He used these to pay personal lifestyle expenses.

It is important to note that under United States law, Gregory is considered innocent until proven guilty. His next court date has not been publicly confirmed at this time.

What do you think about Gregory's COVID-19 fraud scam?

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Rebekah Barton

Rebekah Barton

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