Florida basketball coach fleeced $1 million in COVID-19 relief loans, FBI says

He led his team to a state championship in March. The FBI says he also lied to get a $984,710 Paycheck Protection Program loan.
Stranahan High School boys varsity basketball coach Terrence Williams.
Stranahan High School boys varsity basketball coach Terrence Williams. [ Sun-Sentinel ]
Published Nov. 14, 2020

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.

• • •

Tampa Bay Times coronavirus coverage

HOW CORONAVIRUS IS SPREADING IN FLORIDA: Find the latest numbers for your county, city or zip code.

FACE MASKS: Read the latest on guidelines, tips for comfort and long-term wear

GET THE DAYSTARTER MORNING UPDATE: Sign up to receive the most up-to-date information.

THE CORONAVIRUS SCRAPBOOK: We collected your stories, pictures, songs, recipes, journals and more to show what life has been like during the pandemic.

A TRIBUTE TO THE FLORIDIANS TAKEN BY THE CORONAVIRUS: They were parents and retirees, police officer and doctors, imperfect but loved deeply.

HAVE A TIP?: Send us confidential news tips

We’re working hard to bring you the latest news on the coronavirus in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven’t already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription.