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Another Broward deputy and swat team member convicted of PPP loan fraud

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Last week, on June 5th, a federal jury in Miami convicted Broward deputy Alexandra Acosta of conspiracy to defraud the Small Business Administration, making false statements to the SBA, and wire fraud. These charges stemmed from her involvement in a COVID-19 relief fraud scheme.

In 2021, Acosta, 38, of Tamarac, Florida, conspired with her tax preparer, Vilsaint St Louis, to fraudulently secure a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.

Acosta, who falsely claimed to be a sole proprietor operating as a realtor, submitted falsified information about her 2019 income, including two fabricated IRS tax forms. The deception resulted in her receiving and later seeking forgiveness for a PPP loan exceeding $20,000 in principal and interest.

At the time of the scheme, Acosta was employed as a deputy sheriff in the Broward Sheriff’s Office Department of Law Enforcement and held the distinction of being the first and only female SWAT team member in the department.

The sentencing hearing for Acosta is set for August 27 before U.S. Senior District Judge Robert N. Scola. Acosta faces severe penalties: up to 20 years in prison for the wire fraud conviction, 5 years for the conspiracy conviction, and 2 years for each false statement conviction. The court’s decision will be influenced by the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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Acosta’s coconspirator, St Louis, previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced on May 14 to one year of probation, a $5,000 fine, and 100 hours of community service.

Similar incidents plaguing BSO

In a related development, another former Broward County Deputy Sheriff, Stephanie Diane Smith, was sentenced last week to seven months in prison for her involvement in a similar COVID-19 relief fraud scheme, where she received two PPP loans.

Both are part of over a dozen Broward deputies who were last year charged with fraudulently obtaining PPP loans.

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The employees collectively received around $500,000, which they diverted for their own personal use.

The announcement of Acosta’s conviction was made by U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Markenzy Lapointe; Brian Tucker, Special Agent in Charge of the Eastern Region, Office of Inspector General for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; BSO Sheriff Gregory Tony; and Jeffrey B. Veltri, FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Miami Field Office.

Read more: Former Broward Deputy Sheriff sentenced to federal prison for PPP loan fraud

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