Kissimmee man, woman sentenced to prison over false COVID relief applications

Pair defrauded nearly $1 million from SBA and lenders

FILE - An exterior sign is photographed outside the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice building in Washington on May 4, 2021. President Joe Biden is nominating six lawyers to run U.S. attorneys offices across the country, a diverse group of candidates in the latest picks for the top law enforcement positions. The nominees, being announced by the White House on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022, would run the federal prosecutors offices in Connecticut, Utah, Montana, Alaska, New Mexico and New Hampshire. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File) (Patrick Semansky, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Two Kissimmee residents who attempted to defraud several banks over COVID-19 relief funding were sentenced to prison Wednesday, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Tomas Ziupsnys, 39, and Holly Urban, 36, submitted six false loan applications for the Paycheck Protection Program — a federal program used to provide small businesses with funds to pay employees during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with other costs.

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Ziupsnys and Urban submitted these applications to the Small Business Administration and several lenders with incorrect figures for employees, payroll expenses and sales revenue of five companies they claimed to own.

In addition, prosecutors said Ziupsnsys submitted false tax forms using the personal information of a parent and their two children.

The Dept. of Justice said Ziupsnys obtained the parent and children’s Social Security numbers when he contacted the parent about a supposed job opportunity involving FedEx routes that Ziupsnys and Urban intended to purchase with PPP funds.

After obtaining the Social Security numbers, Ziupsnsys did not contact the parent again and instead used the information on the false tax forms that he submitted for a loan.

The SBA and several lenders approved and funded three of the pair’s PPP loans, totaling approximately $897,000. However, the banks was able to freeze $265,300 before either Urban or Ziupsnys could access the money.

Outside of the requests he submitted with Urban, Ziupsnys submitted three more false PPP loan applications, though none of those was approved.

Ziupsnys was sentenced to five years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. Urban was sentenced to two years and three months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

The pair was also ordered to forfeit the $632,000 they illegally obtained.

About the Author:

Anthony, a graduate of the University of Florida, joined in April 2022.