Joplin man sentenced to prison for $300,000 fraud schemes

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A Joplin, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court for two fraud schemes, totaling nearly $300,000, including fraudulent loans under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and a so-called “transaction reversal” bank scheme.

Deaviyon Rockett, 22, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Roseann A. Ketchmark to five years and three months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Rockett to pay $260,000 in restitution.

On April 5, 2023, Rockett pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud. Rockett admitted that he submitted at least $119,262 in fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program loan applications. Rockett also admitted that he engaged in a $176,007 “transaction reversal” fraud scheme.

PPP Fraud Scheme

The purpose of the CARES Act was to provide emergency financial assistance due to the economic impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act authorized the Small Business Administration to provide Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to small businesses to retain workers and maintain payroll, and make mortgage interest payments, lease payments, and utility payments. Under the PPP, both the principal and interest on those loans were eligible for forgiveness.

Rockett admitted that, from March 26 to May 17, 2021, he submitted six PPP loan applications using the names of other individuals that falsely claimed a business, its employees, and/or the amount of the salaries to be covered through these loans existed. In reality, those representations were entirely false. Rockett then accessed the bank accounts of these individuals, withdrawing much of the money that had been fraudulently received, and used those funds for expenses that were unrelated to and prohibited to be used under the PPP loan program.

“Transaction Reversal” Fraud Scheme

Law enforcement in Neosho and Jasper Counties was contacted in August 2022 by numerous individuals who reported that Rockett had contacted them through various media platforms. Rockett told these individuals that he was part of a business that involved “transaction reversal,” and that if they would give him their bank account information, he would make himself and the victim money by conducting these transactions on their bank account.

Rockett accessed the victims’ bank accounts to deposit fraudulent checks written on the bank accounts of Coffeyville Community College and/or Santander Consumer USA. Once the checks were deposited, the bank would credit the account on a preliminary basis. However, those checks were not authorized by either entity and were not honored by either entity.

Rockett immediately withdrew either the amount of the checks or, in some cases, completely emptied the bank account of all funds before the bank reversed the deposits. At least $176,007 in total was fraudulently withdrawn from the bank accounts of fraud victims.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Carney. It was investigated by the FBI and the Joplin, Mo., Police Department.

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