Florida man received $1.9 million in coronavirus relief funds, used money to buy Mercedes, prosecutors say


48-year-old Keith William Nicoletta

TAMPA, Fla. (NEXSTAR) — A Florida man who received more than $1.9 million in coronavirus relief funds is accused of using a fake business to apply for a Payroll Protection Program loan and using the money to purchase a luxury car and a pickup truck, prosecutors revealed on Friday.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Tampa says 48-year-old Keith William Nicoletta was arrested last week and charged with bank fraud and illegal monetary transactions.

Prosecutors accuse Nicoletta of falsely claiming on a loan application that he had a scrap metal business with 69 employees and a monthly payroll of more than $760,000.

Nicoletta obtained the PPP loan in May, which was part of the coronavirus relief package unveiled in March. Prosecutors said he reported no employee wages to the state of Florida in 2019 or 2020.

 “None of the money was used for payroll,” prosecutors said in a news release.

After securing the loan, Nicoletta transferred the money between several bank accounts and withdrew $100,000 in cash, prosecutors said. Nicoletta also purchased a 2020 Mercedes for $105,000 and a Ford truck for $66,000. He also wired over $500,000 to a property management company, according to prosecutors.

Nicoletta faces up to 40 years in federal prison.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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