Nevada man accused of using COVID-19 funds to buy $400K home

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Henderson man is facing charges after he allegedly obtained around $500,000 and then laundered the funds through friends and family to buy a home.

Brandon Casutt, 49, fraudently obtained the money from the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster funds and used it to buy a $400,000 home in Henderson in June that he and his family moved into, according to the Department of Justice.

Casutt was arrested Friday and the criminal complaint for him, which was unsealed in federal court Tuesday, charges him with making false statements to a financial institution, wire fraud, bank fraud, concealment money laundering, and engaging in unlawful monetary transactions. 

The complaint alleges that Casutt schemed to submit fraudulent applications for both COVID-19 assistance programs. The money, under the CARES Act, was meant for businesses struggling financially amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Casutt received a PPP loan for approximately $350,000 in the name of a business called Sky DeSign and an EIDL for approximately $150,000 in the name of a charity called Skyler’s C.F. Foundation, which is supposedly devoted to raising awareness about cystic fibrosis.

The loan applications indicated that each entity had numerous employees, significant payroll expenses, and substantial revenue.  According to the complaint, neither entity has employees nor pays any wages. And Skyler’s C.F. Foundation had nowhere near the $600,000 revenue in 2019 that Casutt listed on the entity’s EIDL application.

Casutt laundered the PPP funds by writing checks to 23 different people — friends, family members, associates, and himself — each in the amount of $8,330 with “back pay” and “pandemic pay” in the checks’ memo lines.  He then had the funds diverted to a bank account he could access, according to the complaint.

The FBI, IRS, and Small Business Administration’s Office of the Inspector General investigated the case. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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