A gay former Catholic official has been charged with fraud after obtaining millions in coronavirus relief funds meant to help small businesses and buying personal luxury items.
Kenneth P. Gaughan, 41, was charged with one count of bank fraud, one count of theft of government funds, one count of wire fraud, and one count of money laundering after securing over $2.1 million from two federal programs, reports the Washington Blade.
Gaughan, a former assistant superintendent and contracting liaison for the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, used the money to buy a $300,000 yacht, a $1.3 million D.C. townhouse, and a $46,000 sports car.
According to a statement released by the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Gaughan submitted loan requests for at least a dozen bogus companies through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) program.
And apparently the move was on-brand — Gaughan has previously been charged with embezzling over $470,000 from the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. from 2010-2018. He narrowly escaped those charges in December 2019, when a 5-day trial ended with the court dismissing the charges due to prosecutorial technicalities before the jury ever reached a verdict.
“Mr. Gaughan was so emboldened by deceiving a church for eight years he then, allegedly, turned his deception to the government, stealing funds that were meant to be a lifeline for struggling businesses during an unprecedented economic downturn, and greedily using them to satisfy his own materialistic desires,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Jennifer Boone.
“We will not tolerate exploitation of this national emergency for personal gain,” said Acting U.S. Attorney for D.C. Michael R. Sherwin. “This office will not allow fraudsters to steal taxpayer money intended to help small businesses that are struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Gaughan pleaded not guilty to all charges.