The PPP dog whistle payback time

When the feds set up all the COVID welfare programs in 2020 during the Panic, it was like blowing a dog whistle for every fraudster, grifter and flim-flam man on planet earth.

It was a high-pitched sound – like a dinner bell – and only scammers could hear it. But boy, did it come through loud and clear, as we now know, after hundreds of billions of welfare bucks have been stolen from the government.

All these years later, they’re still indicting these fraudsters. I was looking for a new accountant for my business recently, and the prospective new firm asked me, rather oddly, “Did you take any PPP money?”

“No,” I yelled. I learned how to duck a long time ago. Then I asked them, why do you ask?

Because, the accountants answered, we’re up against the wall right now with work, because everyone of our clients who took the free dough is getting audited.

Good! I thought to myself. I hope they bust them all. One, two, a thousand Dean Trans, that’s the way I look at it.

So the feds in Boston this week just lugged a whole bunch of gangbangers – the Heath Street Gang. And all the usual violent gang mayhem was supplemented by “COVID fraud,” according to the press release.

“It is alleged,” the feds say, “that members/associates of the Heath Street Gang have engaged in widespread CARES Act loan and unemployment fraud.”

CARES Act – the Coronavirus Aid Relief & Economic Security Act. It provided unlimited billions for the PPP – the Paycheck Protection Program.

Now I’m looking at the list of the defendants from the Heath Street Gang, and wondering who in the crew filed for the torrents of free money in COVID relief.

Was it Jaquori Lyons, a/k/a “Gizzle,” age 25, of Jamaica Plain? Or perhaps Amos Carrasquillo, a/k/a “Cruddy,” 35, of Mattapan?

Or maybe it was Rickquille McKinney, a/k/a “Mozzy,” age 30, of Arlington? Or Tyree Herring, a/k/a “Smoov,” a/k/a “Blick,” 26, of Billerica.

Theoretically, most of these handouts involved supposed loans, forgivable perhaps, but still, didn’t the feds require…. something, before they wired you a million bucks or so?

If you’re looking for this month’s Everyman, or should I say Every Fraudster of the COVID scam, forget Moola and Bricks and D Jones and Choppa and the rest of the Heath Street Gang who got rounded up Wednesday.

Instead consider one Bill Dessaps, 46, of South Easton. When the Panic began, Dessaps had a “modest,” as the feds called it, used-car dealership in Abington. It was called ABC Tech. He lived in Bridgewater.

Then Dessaps heard the siren song… the PPP dog whistle.

Soon, with the help of “recruiters” (who have since pleaded guilty), he filed a PPP application “reporting over $3.8 million in 2019 payroll expenses alone.”

In fact, according to the criminal complaint against him, “tax return information indicates that Dessaps did not file employment tax returns for ABC Tech for the tax year 2019.”

No problem! On June 5, 2020, two days after filing his bogus application for PPP funds, Dessaps got a wire transfer from the feds for… $836,000!

“Bank records indicate that Dessaps spent PPP funds on personal expenses including, but not limited to, French bulldogs. (From October 2020 to January 2021) ABC Tech’s bank accounts issued three payments totaling $32,000 to West Virginia-based breeders of French bulldogs.”

Thirty-two grand on French bulldogs – he must have had more of them than Lady Gaga.

Then he bought himself a black Rolls Royce.

What could possibly go wrong? Who would ever notice that a guy from Bridgewater who ran a tiny “business” in Abington is suddenly living high on the hog – driving a Rolls Royce and owning $32,000 worth of designer dogs.

Bill Dessaps is only one of thousands of these PPP cases. It’s the same m.o. over and over again. They start small – in his first two loan applications, Dessaps claimed he had three or four employees and a monthly payroll of $15,000 tops.

After the second application, he got a “loan” from the feds of $12,450. It was just too easy so he decided to shoot the moon.

“Dessaps caused the submission of a third PPP application that falsely reported that ABC Tech had 40 employees and total monthly payroll expenses of $334,720.”

In less than a month, his “business” went from 3-4 employees to 40. And more importantly, his Panic relief funds gets from $12,450 to $836,800.

And. Nobody. Noticed.

Five of Dessaps’ co-defendants have pleaded guilty. He alone remains unconvicted. I doubt his case will go to trial, but if it does I can guess his defense.

“Your Honor, my client, this fine man – have I told you how much he loves dogs? – couldn’t help himself. He had a disease.”

Yes, he did. It’s called kleptomania.

Eventually, Dessaps will probably end up in federal prison, perhaps even with some of the Heath Street Gang. The gangbangers will have plenty of street cred, what with the murders and shootings etc.

But Bill Dessaps can do a little bragging on his own if he finds himself with Cellblock 10 with Gizzle and Smoov and Cruddy.

I mean, did anyone in the Heath Street Gang ride around JP in a black Rolls Royce, or own $32,000 worth of French bulldogs?

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