The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office released the findings of their investigation Monday. They say a business, called SRQ Financial Solutions, submitted over 100 applications on the behalf of local businesses for COVID-19 relief funds using fake bank statements and questionable tax documents.
Those applicants were unaware of the scheme.
More than $319,000 was collected as a result.
The sheriff says it not only hurts the applicants who legitimately needed relief, but also other pending applications.
"It is a double fraud on the taxpayers in that there may have been legitimate businesses out there that wanted it but didn't get it," Sheriff Kurt Hoffman stated. "So there are gonna be some folks that are hurt in this community because beyond the fraud that was perpetrated."
Detectives say that the investigation stopped an additional $4 million from being released.