WORCESTER, MA — A husband and wife from Worcester have been charged after illegally taking pandemic relief loans for businesses that don't exist, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
Richard Oworae, 59, and Lucy Oworae, 56, were charged Thursday with wire fraud and making false statements. Prosecutors say over the summer they took out almost $195,000 in Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster loans (EIDL).
According to court documents, a U.S. Postal Service inspector discovered that Richard Oworae had taken out loans for a company called Gimp Management and Tax Consult LLC and another called Gimp Management Consultants. In the case of the former company, Oworae registered it as a business with the Secretary of the Commonwealth weeks after applying for a loan, according to court records.
Also over the summer, Lucy Oworae took out an $83,000 loan for a business called "U.S. Postal Services, P&DC" — a reference to where she worked at a Shrewsbury USPS facility, according to court records.
The Oworaes used the loan proceeds to buy groceries and other goods, and some money was sent to a Tanzanian remittance company, according to court documents.
EIDL loans were made available to business owners during the coronavirus pandemic as part of the CARES Act stimulus program. The charges against the Oworaes are among several the U.S. Attorney in Boston has brought during the pandemic.
Also this week, two men from Lawrence and Methuen were charged after fraudulently taking out over $450,000 in EIDL loans, about half of which was used to buy iPhones, prosecutors said.