September 23, 2022
Fraud Friday – Self-Proclaimed Pastor/Mortician/Tax Preparer Sentenced for EIDL Fraud
“When Congress provided more than $6.5 billion through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Security Act to help small businesses struggling financially during the pandemic, fraudsters like Mack Knight came out of the woodwork” says U.S. Attorney David Estes for the Southern District of Georgia. “With our law enforcement partners, we are identifying and holding accountable these scam artists attempting to steal taxpayer funds.”
Mack Knight, a man previously convicted for fraud three times, admitted to lying on loan applications for COVID-19 small business assistance. During the pandemic, he fraudulently applied for EIDLs on behalf of multiple small businesses in Georgia, and he held himself out as a pastor, mortician, restaurateur, and a tax preparer. He claimed that the businesses had hundreds of thousands of dollars in gross revenue prior to the pandemic and sent fictitious documents including fake tax documents and an altered bank record. Ultimately, he received $149,000 due to the fraudulent application for a claimed tax business.
Using the funds obtained from the fraudulent Economic Injury Disaster Loan, Mack purchased a Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan. He agreed to forfeit the vehicle to the United States as part of his plea agreement.
Knight was sentenced to 29 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and $149,000 in restitution to the SBA after pleading guilty to two counts of wire fraud.
“So many businesses needed federal emergency assistance to stay afloat during the pandemic, and this defendant misdirected hundreds of thousands of dollars of that money to his own pockets,” says Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Mack Knight’s actions affected every tax paying citizen, in particular those who needed help the most. The FBI will continue to make every effort to ensure federal funds are used as intended.”
DOJ Press Release