WELLINGTON, Fla. — A Wellington man has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for submitting fraudulent loan applications seeking approximately $2 million in forgivable Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Paycheck Protection Program loans.
Gregory Scott Keough, 57, was sentenced on Thursday by District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks in West Palm Beach.
In November, he pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. He also was ordered to pay $1,922,355 million in restitution.
These loans are guaranteed by the Small Business Administration under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
From March to August 2020, Keough and conspirator Derek Acree, an attorney from Palm Beach Gardens, submitted one fraudulent EIDL application and three fraudulent PPP loan applications on behalf of entities they both controlled, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Of the funded loans, Keough was responsible for approximately $1,612,222.
Keough individually submitted four additional false loan applications on behalf of companies he controlled as chief executive officer. Two of those applications were funded and Keough received $309,555 in CARES Act proceeds.
These companies included National Financial Holdings Inc., NFH Florida LLC, DBA Finova Financial LLC, NFH Partners LLC, Grupo Keough LLC, Enclave Partners LLC, and National Financial Holding Technology LLC. The loans misrepresented the number of employees, payroll expenses, and gross revenues, prosecutors said.
Keough transferred some of the loan proceeds to other bank account, paid multiple credit cards, as well as used to purchase and install storm windows for his home, private jet travel and private school tuition, according to prosecutors.
Acree was charged separately and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in October 2022. Acree was sentenced in January 2023 to 41 months in prison and ordered to pay $1.9 million in restitution. Acree paid the full amount of the restitution order.
The FBI in West Palm Beach investigated the case.
On May 17, 2021, the U.S. attorney general established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the DOJ in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud.
On Sept. 15, 2022, THE Southern District of Florida’s U.S. Attorney’s Office was selected to head one of three national COVID-19 Fraud Strike Force Teams.
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form [usg02.safelinks.protection.office365.us].