Covid Relief Fraud Nets Maud Man More Than 5 Years In Federal Pen


TEXARKANA, Texas–A Maud man who got caught trying to steal more than $5 million in pandemic relief funds meant for small businesses was sentenced to more than five years in prison Tuesday by a federal judge in Texarkana.

Samuel Morgan Yates, 35, received terms of 68 months in federal prison on two counts of wire fraud from District Judge Robert Schroeder III in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas. Yates was ordered to serve the terms concurrently and will be supervised by federal officials for three years following his release, court records show.

Yates agreed to forfeit more than half a million dollars seized from a bank account and owes more than $28,000 in restitution for unrecovered funds. He attempted to bilk the government of millions more through falsified applications for federal assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program instituted in response to the business shutdowns caused by the global spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, according to court documents.

Yates has been in custody since his arrest in May 2020. He remains in the custody of U.S. Marshals. There is no parole from a federal prison sentence though offenders may earn up to 54 days credit toward their sentence per year for good behavior.

Yates is represented by Texarkana lawyer Jeff Harrelson. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Hornok is representing the government.

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