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Dade City man charged after spending COVID-19 relief funds on luxury car, DOJ says

Posted at 4:26 PM, Oct 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-23 23:31:03-04

DADE CITY, Fla. — A Dade City man was charged after the Department of Justice said he spent his PPP loans on a Mercedes and a Ford pickup.

According to a complaint, around May, 48-year-old Keith Nicoletta secured more than $1.9 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.

Nicoletta's PPP loan application was falsely claimed. The DOJ said Nicoletta claimed he had a local scrap metal business with 69 employees whose purported monthly payroll expenses exceeded $760,000 - or more than $9 million annually.

Once he was given the loan, the DOJ said he did not use the PPP funds for qualified expenses.

Instead, Nicoletta laundered the money, transferring it between various accounts at different financial institutions.

Nicoletta also withdrew over $100,000 in cash and purchased a 2020 Mercedes for more than $106,000 and a 2020 special edition Ford F-250 pickup valued at over $66,000, the DOJ said.

He wired around $537,000 to a property management company in South Florida, as well.

None of the money he was given was used for payroll, the DOJ said.

Nicoletta was charged with bank fraud and illegal monetary transactions.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 40 years in federal prison.