Celebration Tax Preparer, 76, Indicted In Loan Fraud Case – Orlando Sentinel

A 76-year-old Central Florida tax preparer has been indicted in Pennsylvania on charges of scheming to obtain more than $7 million in fraudulent federal loans — including loans through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Barrie J. Osborne of Celebration allegedly conspired with at least eight people from California to obtain the loans of behalf of sometimes dormant companies, according to a statement released by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Osborne is listed on state documents as the registered agent for Guardian Angel Associates LLC, which advertises accounting, bookkeeping and tax assistance, primarily for businesses. He could not be reached Thursday for comment.

The indictment alleges that, beginning approximately January 2018, Osborne conspired with the individuals from California to apply for loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration and later from the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program and Payment Protection Program, created as part of the government’s coronavirus relief efforts. The loan applications were made on behalf of businesses that were either dormant or had limited operations, the indictment alleges.

“In exchange for fees, Osborne made the businesses appear to be functioning companies with operations and employees by creating fake documents, including fake bank statements and fictitious tax documents,” the Justice Department alleged. “Osborne also provided a ‘script’ to scheme participants to use in calls with lenders.”

According to the indictment, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, the group ultimately obtained over $7.3 million in loans through the three federal programs. The indictment further alleges that Osborne created “forgiveness plans” that directed the co-conspirators to transfer the PPP fraud proceeds as purported payroll expenses for each of the companies, including one of his own companies. The plans were designed to increase the likelihood that recipients would qualify for loan forgiveness under the program, the indictment said.

Osborne is charged with conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.