Criminal Justice

Suspended lawyer is accused of inflating firm payroll to obtain COVID-19 pandemic relief funds

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A recently suspended Pennsylvania lawyer has been charged with mail fraud for allegedly inflating his payroll and gross receipts to obtain COVID-19 relief funds.

Jonathan Olivetti, 41, was charged Dec. 13, according to a press release by the U.S. attorney’s office in the Middle District of Pennsylvania and coverage by Law360.

The press release said Olivetti is from Philadelphia, while Law360 said his law office is in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Prosecutors allege that Olivetti inflated his payroll to receive $41,600 from the Paycheck Protection Program, which offered forgivable loans to keep businesses afloat and workers on the payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prosecutors also allege that Olivetti inflated his gross receipts to obtain Economic Injury Disaster Loans, which provided low-interest financing and forgivable $10,000 advances to small businesses experiencing financial disruption during the pandemic.

Olivetti was temporarily suspended Dec. 7, effective Jan. 6, as a result of a May guilty plea to wire fraud in a second case, according to Law360. In that case, Olivetti was accused of stealing more than $90,000 from an account holding funds for an estate that he represented.

Olivetti was accused of falsely telling his client that the Internal Revenue Service had frozen the money.

Olivetti didn’t immediately respond to an ABA Journal voicemail seeking comment that was left on a number listed for him online.

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