EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — A Luzerne County woman has been sentenced to 10 months in prison for preparing and submitting several false applications in a COVID-19 fraud scheme.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced Thursday that Angela Castillo, 39, of Freeland, Luzerne County was sentenced on Wednesday, November 8, to 10 months in prison, to be followed by a three-year term of supervised release, with five months of electronic monitoring, in connection to a wire fraud scheme involving the preparation and submission of numerous false Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) applications.

According to U.S. Attorney Gerard M. Karam, between June 2020 and September 2020, Castillo prepared and submitted to the United States Small Business Association (SBA) at least 40 false EIDL applications containing material misrepresentations, on behalf of other individuals, in exchange for money.

Karam says Castillo’s conduct resulted in the SBA paying out approximately $163,000 in COVID-19 relief funds to people who didn’t own a qualifying small business and therefore, were not entitled to receive the funds provided by the program.

At her sentencing, Castillo was ordered to pay $163,000 in restitution to the SBA.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement
Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies
across the government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud.

For more information visit the DOJ’s Coronavirus website.