PORTLAND, Ore.—A California real estate developer was sentenced to federal prison today for using stolen identities to fraudulently obtain more than $1.3 million in loans intended to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alfred E. Nevis, 53, was sentenced to 70 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release. Nevis was also ordered to pay more than $1.3 million in restitution to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and to forfeit another $1.3 million to the United States Treasury.
According to court documents, from April 1, 2020, through at least August 6, 2020, Nevis used the identities of multiple individuals known to him—including current and former employees, business associates, and their spouses—to illegally obtain Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) disbursed by the SBA. The EIDL program was one of several economic relief programs originally authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) passed in March 2020 to provide emergency financial assistance to American employers.
To facilitate his scheme, Nevis used the stolen identities to register straw corporations, obtain Employer Identification Numbers (EINs) from the IRS, and submit loan applications to SBA on behalf of the newly-registered corporations. In one instance, Nevis claimed a straw corporation called Isley Farms, registered in Oregon, had 12 employees and generated more than $725,000 in revenue in a 12-month period ending in January 2020.
Between April 1, 2020, and September 25, 2020, Nevis submitted at least 22 EIDL applications using the stolen identities of at least eight individuals. Together, these applications sought nearly $2.8 million from SBA. By August 2020, Nevis had obtained more than $1.3 million in EIDL payouts and laundered at least $160,000 of his ill-gotten gains.
On May 17, 2022, a federal grand jury in Portland returned an indictment charging Nevis with wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering. On May 2, 2023, he pleaded guilty to all three charges.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the SBA Office of Inspector General, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Office of Inspector General, and the FBI. It was prosecuted by Ryan W. Bounds, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Justice Department’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.