Daughter of former Broward mayor, current Dem Rep candidate accused of massive PPP fraud

It seems that Broward County just refuses to stay out of the news.

The daughter of a former mayor of Broward County, Florida, is accused of defrauding the federal COVID-19 relief program, according to a report.

Damara Holness, 28, lied to get $300,000 in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan money from the federal government, according to WSVN-TV of Miami.

Her father, Dale Holness, was elected mayor of Broward County in 2019, presided over the county during the first year of the pandemic, and is now a Democratic candidate for a U.S. House seat in the state’s 20th Congressional District.

Federal investigators said Damara Holness used her father’s campaign headquarters as her business address on her June 2020 PPP loan application. They added she falsely stated that her now-revealed phantom company, Holness Consulting, had 18 employees and had an average monthly payroll of $120,000.

The application stated “Holness Consulting paid wages of $1,440,000” in 2019. The state says the business was dissolved in 2020, but was reinstated only a few days before the loan was submitted.

The investigators concluded in their report that over a three-month period, Holness issued what are essentially ghost checks to various persons in order to make it look like the organization had employees. Each ghost person would get $200 to endorse the checks and then return them to Holness, who would then cash them, they alleged.

Federal investigators said from July to September 2020, “Defendant Holness began issuing checks to persons in order to make it appear as if Holness Consulting had full-time employees and was complying with the conditions of the PPP loan. At the direction of the defendant Holness, the persons receiving the checks endorsed the checks and returned the checks to defendant Holness.”

What some folks will do to avoid honest work.

It isn’t unique to Democrats, but if Dale Holness were running as a Republican with a daughter involved in such dirty deeds, the FBI would be gearing up for a crack-of-dawn raid with more SWAT than the finale of “The Blues Brothers.”

The former mayor said he is estranged from his crooked daughter. In a statement, he said, “Damara has had no access to my real estate business, office, or had my permission to use my address or to conduct business on behalf of the Holness family name nor myself. She has had no access to my office since 2018.”

“She has made it clear to me on multiple occasions that she is an adult and as such, has conducted her own affairs. If she has done wrong, I hope she learns from this and uses this as a lesson to better conduct her life in the future.”

Holness has been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. If convicted, she faces 20 years in prison, and she could have to pay a $250,000 fine.

The $300,000 PPP loan she was approved for has not been forgiven.

That’s a pretty big matzo ball hangin’ out there.

Frank Webster

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