Virginia couple charged with $ 1.5 million coronavirus fraud

A married couple from Virginia was arrested trying to flee the country after illegally receiving about $ 1.5 million in federal funds for businesses struggling during the pandemic, prosecutors said.

Monica Magdalena Jaworska, 43, and her husband Tarik Jaafar, 42, were arrested at JFK airport in New York for the alleged scam earlier this month after buying one-way tickets to Poland, according to the Prosecutor’s Office Federal District of the Eastern District of Virginia.

Prosecutors allege that the couple filed 18 different loan applications under the Federal Salary Protection Program, using bogus IRS forms to claim they were supporting dozens of employees.

They were finally approved for four loans totaling more than $ 1.4 million, prosecutors said.

But an investigation revealed that businesses really didn’t exist, according to an affidavit filed by the Small Business Administration.

The couple bought the airline tickets after officers contacted them for an interview, prosecutors said.

Most of the funds were frozen, but prosecutors said Jaafar was able to withdraw at least $ 30,000 in cash.

Jaworska appeared in court on Friday afternoon on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

If convicted, she and Jaafar face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.