St. Paul man gets 7 years in prison for defrauding pandemic relief fund — and buying a Harley

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A St. Paul man was sentenced to nearly seven years in federal prison last week for stealing more than $840,000 in COVID-19 relief funds.

Kyle William Brenizer, 33, pleaded guilty Jan. 31 and was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court to 81 months behind bars.

Brenizer sought and received funds from the Paycheck Protection Program in 2020 for his defunct contracting company True Cut Construction, according to the plea agreement on one count each of wire fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft.

Brooklyn Park-based True Cut, which Brenizer owned and operated, was ordered in August 2018 to stop doing business by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, and its contractor license expired in December 2019.

Nevertheless, Brenizer applied for PPP relief funds on behalf of the defunct company in May 2020, falsely claiming it employed 28 people with an average monthly payroll of $338,720, according to the plea agreement.

His first application was denied, but Brenizer submitted a second, similarly false application less than two weeks later, this time under the name of another person, identified in court documents as Individual A. This application was approved, and Brenizer received nearly $841,000 in PPP funds.

Of that amount, Brenizer transferred $650,000 to a business banking account he controlled at a different company, $20,000 to his personal savings account and $10,000 to Individual A, the plea agreement says. He also used it to make a $29,000 payment on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

This case was the result of an investigation conducted by the IRS, FBI, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and Small Business Administration.

Anyone with information about allegations of fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or online at justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.

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