GREENBELT, Maryland – A pastor in Maryland has been arrested by federal authorities on charges of wire fraud after authorities allege he fraudulently obtained more than $1.5 million in PPP loans.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Maryland shared a news release detailing the complaints against Rudolph Brooks Jr., 45, following his arrest on April 2.
Brooks allegedly applied for Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans on behalf of a company called Cars Direct which lists Brooks as the owner.
“Cars Direct was forfeited on October 1, 2012, and subsequently revived on May 28, 2020,” according to the district attorney’s office.
An arrest affidavit for Brooks alleges that he applied for $1,556,589 in PPP loans for Cars Direct by falsifying tax forms.
The tax forms state that Cars Direct reported $724,469 in payments via Forms 1099-MISC and $7,471,630 in total unemployment payments to employees. IRS records and Maryland Department of Labor records directly contradict this claim and don’t show tax or wage filings for Cars Direct.
The affidavit also alleges that Brooks submitted a fraudulent application for EIDL loans on behalf of Cars Direct which states that the company grossed $148,000 with the cost of goods sold totaling just over $82,000 for the same time period, according to the attorney’s office. These numbers contrast with what Brooks claimed on the PPP application.
The U.S. Attorney’s office stated that Brooks purchased 39 automobiles starting in May 2020, including a 2017 Mercedes Benz S Class, two 2017 Infinity Q50s, a 2015 Cadillac Escalade, a 2005 Bentley Continental, a 2018 Tesla Model 3, a 2014 GMC Yukon XL, and several older model luxury vehicles.
He also initiated wire transfers from bank accounts associated with Cars Direct to buy a property in Baltimore.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, up to $2,296,136.86 from eleven bank accounts and the 2018 Tesla Model 3 were seized from Brooks by authorities.
Brooks, who is the pastor and founder of Kingdom Tabernacle of Restoration Ministries, according to the Washington Post, faces up to 20 years in federal prison for wire fraud followed by three years of supervised release.
The U.S. Attorney’s office noted that sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties and that a federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.