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COVID-19 FRAUD

Prosecutors allege Giuseppina 'Josephine' Leone, of Montgomery Township, stole hundreds of thousands in federal funds.

Former Ambler restaurant owner federally charged with COVID-19 relief loan fraud

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  • Public Safety

A Montgomery Township woman who used to co-own Ristorante San Marco in Ambler with her husband is the defendant in a federal case involving fraudulent misuse of Covid relief funds, according to The Mercury, and faces up to 60 years in prison.

Giuseppina “Josephine” Leone, 61, was indicted Friday in the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia on three wire fraud charges on accusations of providing false information in emergency financial assistance documents related to the federal Paycheck Protection Program and Restaurant Revitalization Fund, per the report.

According to allegations, the Leones sold their restaurant property on Oct. 20, 2019 for a purchase price of $1.575 million, where they listed themselves as sellers and a third party as a buyer. Around March 18, 2020, Josephine Leone posted a Facebook announcement informing the public that the Italian restaurant was closing temporarily due to the pandemic, per reports, and has yet to reopen.

Authorities alleged that Leone submitted a fraudulent PPP application for $138,000, even though the restaurant was not in operation.

Leone, federal authorities said, stated in the application that the restaurant had 17 employees and needed the loan for payroll and operating expenses. Eventually, the Leones got the $138,000 and the loan was forgiven, due to further alleged misrepresentations.

Then, in May 2021, Leone, per the report, allegedly defrauded the Restaurant Revitalization Fund of $699,196, claiming that the restaurant was in operation and the money was needed to pay employees. After they received that money, the Leones closed on the sale of the restaurant in June 2021, authorities allege.

If found guilty, Leone would need to repay $957,196, plus a $750,000 fine, per the report. She face 20 years in prison per charge.

Read more here.


author

Tony Di Domizio

Tony Di Domizio is the Managing Editor of NorthPennNow and PerkValleyNow, and a staff writer for WissNow. Tony graduated from Kutztown University and went on to serve as a reporter and editor for various news organizations, including Patch, The Reporter, and The Morning Call. He loves creative writing, action figure collecting & reselling, music, and films with Michael Keaton & Al Pacino.

Monday, June 24, 2024
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