A South Florida high school basketball coach who led his team to a state championship has been charged with fleecing about $1 million from a federal small business program meant to help companies suffering financial hardship during the coronavirus pandemic.
Terrence Deshun Williams, 40, head boys varsity basketball coach at Stranahan High School in Fort Lauderdale, appeared in federal court Friday after his arrest on charges of bank fraud, money laundering, engaging in unlawful transactions, and making false statements to a financial institution. He was granted a $350,000 bond, with an arraignment set for Nov. 30.
Williams took the helm of the Mighty Dragons varsity basketball team in 2017-18 and turned the team around to win the Class 4A state championship in March. He could not be reached for comment, nor was a lawyer listed for him on the court docket.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Williams fraudulently sought and received $984,710 in proceeds from the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program loan through his company, Williams Consulting Group LLC, according to a criminal complaint.
The loan program, run by the Small Business Administration and approved by Congress as part of the CARES Act, has been targeted by dozens of companies in South Florida and other regions of the country that have fraudulently claimed they qualify for the pandemic benefits, authorities say. The loans are approved by banks, guaranteed by the SBA and eventually forgiven as long as the proceeds are legitimately used for employee payroll and other overhead costs.
The FBI complaint says Williams claimed his company had 67 employees and an average monthly payroll of $393,884. But, in fact, it paid no such payroll and did not have any workers. The complaint further alleges that after receiving the loan, Williams laundered the vast majority of the money by transferring it to several of his bank accounts.
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