Cabarrus County man accused of using PPP loans to gamble, buy properties

CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. — A grand jury has indicted a man accused of using COVID-era small business loans to gamble and buy properties.

The Court Watch newsletter first reported the news. The money was meant to be a lifeline for small businesses during the pandemic, but federal investigators say a Cabarrus County man rolled the dice and used his in casinos instead.

Court documents show William Ambrose Simpson II was indicted in April.

Prosecutors said Simpson used three businesses he was associated with to commit the crimes from about March 2020 until November 2021.

Simpson is accused of filing false applications for Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans, resulting in millions of dollars being deposited in his accounts. He allegedly misrepresented how much revenue his businesses made and how many employees he had to pay.

Prosecutors say Simpson is accused of using more than $700,000 for the following:

  • A $360,000 wire transfer was made on May 5, 2020 to buy a property.
  • A $75,000 wire transfer was on Sept. 3, 2020 to buy a property.
  • A $25,000 wire transfer was made on March 4, 2021 to a casino in Las Vegas.
  • On March 31, 2021, a $175,000 cashier’s check was addressed to a casino in Pennsylvania.
  • A $100,000 wire transfer was made on Oct. 12, 2021 to a casino in Las Vegas.

Simpson is charged with six counts of wire fraud and five counts of money laundering. If convicted, he’ll have to forfeit the property involved in the crimes.

Of the $5 trillion in COVID-era relief programs, the FBI estimates there has been at least $200 billion in fraud. The U.S. Attorney for the Western District previously told Channel 9′s Joe Bruno that prosecuting these cases is a priority for federal investigators.

“We want to send a message of deterrence out into the community to any individuals who would be fraudsters, who think of this as an easy way to get rich quick,” Dena King said then.

(WATCH BELOW: Charlotte man poses as loan consultant in $1 million COVID-19 scheme)

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